The Mobile District’s Emergency Management Team is now accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). To date, only 12 districts out of 43 have been accredited, including the four districts that were accredited this week.
The EMAP Standard Subcommittee evaluated the district’s Emergency Management Program to confirm that the program adheres to the “Emergency Management Standard,” a scalable, rigorous industry standard for emergency management programs.
EMAP is an independent non-profit organization that fosters excellence and accountability in emergency management and homeland security programs by establishing credible standards applied in a peer review assessment and accreditation process. Ongoing concerns about such threats as terrorism and catastrophic natural disasters drive the need to efficiently and effectively strengthen disaster preparedness measures and response capabilities. The “Emergency Management Standard” and the voluntary accreditation process promote consistent quality in emergency management programs, that benefit the communities and public infrastructure these programs serve.
“This was an effort that was taken on by the entire district,” said Mobile’s Emergency Management Branch Chief, Bo Ansley. “We’ve been working toward this standard for more than two years. We reorganized the Emergency Management Branch staff to include a contingency planner to help with our plans and processes, so this was definitely a team effort.”
Mobile’s Emergency Management Branch is comprised of Ansley, Matt Tate and Ashley Leflore. Leflore is the only certified emergency manager in the South Atlantic Division, but Ansley and Tate are currently working on their certifications.
To meet the EMAP standard, the emergency managers had to demonstrate that they have a comprehensive emergency management program. The district’s plans, procedures and other documents had to adhere to the EMAP’s 64 standards that cover 18 topics, according to Leflore. The topics range from hazard mitigation to crisis communications, Leflore said.
The EMAP assessors spent a week in October reviewing the district’s emergency management documentation and interviewing district staff members. Upon completion of their site visit, the assessors made their recommendation to the EMAP Program Review Committee. On April 24, the district’s Emergency Management team presented their case for accreditation to the EMAP Program Review Committee in Jacksonville, Fla. Based on their overall assessment of the district’s program, the committee would grant the district a status of accredited, non-accredited or conditional accreditation.
After only 17 minutes, during which the team stated their case and answered questions, the committee made their decision. On April 28, the team learned that the committee had accredited their program.
“This is a great achievement for the Emergency Management Branch and the entire Mobile District,” said Mobile District Commander, Col. James DeLapp. “Every success is grounded in preparation. Bo, Ashley and Matt have put a tremendous amount of effort into earning this accreditation. I hope our district doesn’t face an emergency, hurricane or tornado strike any time soon. But, if we do, I know our district is better prepared than ever to deal with it. That’s good news for the millions of people throughout the district who will be counting on us.”