DHS announces intent to adopt NFPA 1600 for the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness

Published on October 28, 2009
Deadline for comments November 16

October 28, 2009 – NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs has been designated for adoption under the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep).

DHS/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published a request for comments in the Federal Register seeking public input on NFPA 1600 and two other standards that it intends to use as the criteria for certification of private sector preparedness programs as mandated by Congress in legislation that implemented the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The agency considered 25 standards and selected three based on scalability, balance of interest, and relevance to the PS-Prep program.  NFPA encourages all interested parties to provide input to DHS/FEMA concerning the selection of standards for the PS Prep Program and to support the use of NFPA 1600 for this national program.

NFPA has made NFPA 1600 available for free viewing and PDF downloads. Since making it publicly available in 2005, there have been over 120,000 PDF downloads. It is also available as a free iPhone application.

Please submit your comments to FEMA by November 16, 2009.  An electronic comment form and instructions are available at www.regulations.gov in Docket ID: FEMA-2008-0017-0100. Additional information on the PS-Prep program is available from FEMA.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, NFPA 1600 was endorsed in the 9/11 Commission’s report. The 9/11 Commission’s recommendation on private sector preparedness and NFPA 1600 was reiterated in Public Law 108-458 in 2004 and most recently in Title IX of Public Law 110-53. Title IX calls for the voluntary certification of private sector preparedness programs. In addition to the endorsement of the 9/11 Commission, NFPA 1600 has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the category of Incident Management System Standards along with 26 other NFPA standards.

Development of NFPA 1600 began in 1991, and the first edition was promulgated in 1995. New editions have been published in 2000, 2004, and 2007. The 2010 edition has just been completed. Throughout its history, NFPA 1600 has been developed by subject matter experts from both the private and public sectors. Private sector input has come from a broad range of industries including those that control our nation’s critical infrastructure.

NFPA 1600 addresses emergency management, business continuity, crisis communications, and recovery in a holistic framework that includes organization, management, risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, resource management, response, continuity, and recovery. NFPA 1600 is aligned with the Disaster Recovery Institute’s 10 Professional Practices for Business Continuity. The standard recognizes and provides the flexibility entities need when developing individual preparedness programs and does not preclude the use of corporate or industry best practices.

The Canadian Standard Association’s Z1600 standard correlates with NFPA 1600 and was developed under license from NFPA to be used as the national preparedness standard in Canada. Besides becoming the most widely used preparedness standard in North America, NFPA 1600 has gained significant attention in Latin American and Asia. Most recently NFPA 1600 has been adopted as the national preparedness standard in Argentina. It is translated and used by national standards bodies in Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Korea, Thailand, Tobago, and Trinidad. It is also being used by European insurance companies

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Contact:  Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office, +1 617 984-7275

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