New Standards for Voluntary Preparedness
Just because your facility doesn’t fall under the CFATS mandates doesn’t mean that security isn’t still an issue for you. Every facility or business needs to take precautions and be ready for a possible emergency. Emergency preparedness can head off a disaster and in the event of an emergency; it can also help businesses recover and resume operations more quickly.
Earlier this month DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the adoption of the final standards for the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program called PS-Prep.
PS-Prep was one of the recommendations that came out of the 9/11 Commission. The idea was to have a completely voluntary accreditation and certification program for private business and organizations. It was meant to promote preparedness including disaster management, emergency management and business continuity programs.
Up until now there really was no set of standards or practices that could help businesses assess their readiness for preventing and handling emergency events like natural disasters or terrorism. Standards will give businesses and facilities guidelines for security and emergency procedures that could lessen the impact of emergency events.
In adopting standards DHS went to the businesses and the public asking for input. The department reviewed more than 25 standards and selected three. They are the following:
ASIS International SPC.1-2009 Organizational Resilience Security Preparedness and Continuity Management System – Requirements with Guidance for Use (2009 Edition)
British Standards Institution 25999 (2007 Edition) – Business Continuity Management (BS 25999:2006-1 Code of practice for business continuity management and BS 25999: 2007-2 Specification for business continuity management)
National Fire Protection Association 1600-Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs 2007 and 2010 editions
These are the currently approved standards and they provide businesses and facilities with a variety of tools to select. DHS has made it clear that this is an on-going process and the department will continue to take input from the public adding and adjusting standards in the future. The standards and certification process will evolve and it will be a continuing dialog as technologies and processes advance.
ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) was selected by DHS to oversee and manage the accreditation and certification process. Private sector organizations including businesses and critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) entities may apply for certification. To become certified an organization must meet the standards and after certification there will be a process for continued reassessment and review.
The PS-Prep program recognizes that private business plays a vital role in security and emergency preparedness. Planning is key to prevention and preparedness. By giving business guidelines and standards DHS helps keep everyone safer and more protected. This is a volunteer program, but good security makes business more productive so it is also is good business.
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