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Appalachian to participate in Emergency Management Accreditation Program

BOONE—Appalachian State University’s Office of Emergency Plans and Operations has been selected to participate in a pilot program assessing the emergency-response plans of higher education institutions.

The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), which reviews state, local and territory governments’ emergency-management programs, is providing the same service for colleges and universities.

Successful completion of the review leads to EMAP accreditation. The process, including a self-assessment, takes about 12 months to complete.

“Participating in the EMAP accreditation puts Appalachian in a position to become one of the first accredited higher education emergency management programs in the world,” said Seth Norris, director of emergency plans and operations at Appalachian. “We have the opportunity to help EMAP understand the unique challenges of higher education emergency management while also assessing our program to the most rigorous standards in the profession. The process is fundamentally an improvement process so that we can provide the safest environment possible for the entire Appalachian family. I look forward to improving our program while helping EMAP shape the future of higher education emergency management accreditation.”

In addition to Appalachian, Idaho State University, MIT and the University of Texas in Austin, will participate in EMAP Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) pilot assessment.

“Achieving disaster resilience at an IHE is an exceedingly complex challenge. It requires communication, coordination, collaboration, and focused effort from the entire institution, including the executive leadership, faculty/researchers, staff, students and external partners including city, county and state governments; private sector; and non-profit organizations,” said Steve Charvat, IHE workgroup chair and director of emergency management at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash.

The EMAP Higher Education pilot assessment includes a cross section of campuses of all sizes and configurations and provides hands-on training and guidance for campus “assessment leads” and teams. The final assessment report will give emergency managers at the pilot schools and their stakeholders the opportunity to assess the benefits of becoming “accredited” against the effort that would be required.

The accreditation program based on EMAP’s Emergency Management Standard will assist participating institutions in preparing to respond to crisis and disasters, and in identifying opportunities to mitigate risk and prevent loss; and establish continuity of operations and recovery strategies for all types of events crisis or disaster – regardless of size and complexity.

The accreditation review process examines documentation and record keeping, training, exercises, evaluations and corrective action, prevention and security, crisis communications, and public education and information. At the end of the internal audit, assessors from EMAP will perform an on-site review of Appalachian’s program.