New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services
See below for some answers to frequently asked questions and note that additional answers may be provided as new questions arise.
- Why should local Emergency Management Organizations (EMO) seek accreditation? What are the benefits?
- What happens if I do not choose to pursue the accreditation?
- What happens if I try but fail to meet the standards?
- What type of technical assistance can be provided to those seeking accreditation, and how can it be requested?
- What if I do not have one or more of the required documents associated with the standards?
- How specifically does DHSES support the Accreditation Council?
- As it relates to Standard 15.0 - Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), are two back-up EOC facilities realistic?
- Why is there a standard related to citizen preparedness? Shouldn’t this issue be addressed by volunteers or community groups?
- What type of events count as citizen preparedness outreach/education events?
- How does this program relate to the National Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP)?
Why should local Emergency Management Organizations (EMO) seek accreditation? What are the benefits?
Obtaining the accreditation demonstrates that an EMO has both a professional and proactive emergency management program as recognized by the State of New York and peer emergency management agencies. The accreditation program also places emergency management on par with other public safety disciplines that have state-level accreditation (e.g., law enforcement). The accreditation seeks to further promote collaboration and sharing of ideas and best practices as well. Additionally, as EMOs work to obtain the accreditation and meet a consistent set of standards, we hope to improve overall preparedness levels in New York State.
The accreditation program is completely voluntary and there is no penalty for not pursuing the accreditation.
The standards are comprehensive in nature but reasonable, and the goal is not to "fail" anyone seeking to obtain the accreditation. Technical assistance is available to assist EMOs interested in the accreditation and efforts will be made to ensure the EMO has clarity on the standards and associated requirements before the on-site assessment is completed. Additionally, if the EMO is unable to meet the standards initially, they will have an opportunity to address any deficiencies and obtain conditional accreditation until all of the standards are fully addressed.
What type of technical assistance can be provided to those seeking accreditation, and how can it be requested?
Technical assistance may include additional guidance and clarification regarding the standards and the associated verification criteria, including the specific documentation needed to demonstrate compliance. Templates, planning guidance, and specific subject matter expertise may also be available. Technical assistance can be requested by contacting EMAccreditation@dhses.ny.gov. Depending on the nature of the assistance needed, DHSES may provide the technical assistance and/or identify other state or local emergency management officials to assist. DHSES can also help to facilitate conversations with EMOs that have been through the accreditation process.
EMOs will be expected to provide some degree of documentation to meet the various standards. The Program Guidance includes the specific documentation required to demonstrate compliance with the standards, but if the requested documentation does not exist for some reason, the EMO will have an opportunity to explain why such documentation is not available and/or provide other documentation suitable to meet the verification criteria. The EMO will also have an opportunity to develop any necessary documentation either before the on-site review (preferably) or afterwards, depending on the nature of the documentation needed.
DHSES provides administrative support to the Accreditation Council, to include helping to schedule the Advisory Council meetings, capturing meeting minutes, and ensuring that all of the necessary documentation is available and ready for review by the Advisory Council.
As it relates to Standard 15.0 - Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), are two back-up EOC facilities realistic?
Yes. For continuity purposes, EMOs should identify at least two locations that could be used as an EOC should the primary EOC be comprised. However, this does not mean that each facility needs to be fully equipped or operational on an on-going basis, as the goal is to simply identify contingency locations that could be used for EOC purposes. Note too that a mobile command vehicle or trailer could also serve as one of the locations should the EMO have access to such a resource.
Why is there a standard related to citizen preparedness? Shouldn’t this issue be addressed by volunteers or community groups?
The County Emergency Preparedness Assessment (CEPA) and other assessment efforts have identified citizen preparedness as a significant preparedness gap in New York State. Although some volunteer and community groups do support citizen preparedness, many communities lack a formal or coordinated citizen preparedness program. As such, this standard seeks to help address this issue by ensuring that EMOs have a program or partnerships in place to conduct, coordinate, or participate in efforts to educate the public about hazards, threats to public safety, and risk reduction through various media and other outlets. The EMO does not need to have a full-time staff person dedicated to this effort and can certainly identify volunteer or community groups to support this capacity, but at a minimum the EMO should identify a citizen preparedness point of contact to ensure some degree of visibility of this capability for the EMO and to help address the other components of this standard. The goal here is not to make more work for the EMO, but rather to ensure some effort is being made to promote and track citizen preparedness activities in a more structured and coordinated way.
Any event where the EMO or a partner agency actively engages and shares citizen preparedness information with the public can be counted. Examples include but are not limited to: citizen preparedness training classes, outreach at county fairs or other public forums, school presentations, local preparedness seminars, etc. Ideally, some effort will also be made to engage Whole Community stakeholders, to include groups such as the elderly, the disabled, children, etc. Again, the EMO does not necessarily need to conduct such events assuming they have identified partner agencies able to do so.
Although similar, the Program is in no way affiliated with the National Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), as the Program processes and standards are focused specifically on emergency management in New York State. The EMAP standards were one of many resources considered in the development of the Program standards. Efforts were made to ensure some degree of consistency with the EMAP standards so that jurisdictions could be in position to pursue the EMAP accreditation, if they so choose. However, EMAP accreditation is a completely separate process.