Standards Announced for Private Sector Preparedness

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board to Offer Accreditation for Government-Private Sector Effort

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement of adoption of standards for the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification (PS-Prep) program marks a major milestone. Under an agreement with DHS, the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board will be the accreditation body for the PS-Prep Program. Accreditation will be offered under the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board's ANAB brand.

"Private organizations across the country - from businesses to universities to non-profit organizations - have a vital role to play in bolstering our disaster preparedness and response capabilities," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. "These new standards will provide our private sector partners with the tools they need to enhance the readiness and resiliency of our nation."

The adoption of the standards - developed by the National Fire Protection Association, the British Standards Institution, and ASIS International - was published in a June 16, 2010, Federal Register notice following a series of regional public meetings and the incorporation of public comments.

The PS-Prep program is a partnership between DHS and the private sector that came about following a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to improve private sector preparedness for disasters and emergencies. Title IX of Public Law 110-53 required that DHS establish a voluntary private sector preparedness accreditation and certification program.

Since DHS awarded the accreditation body contract to ANAB in June of 2008, ANAB has worked closely with DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to develop the program. In addition to regular meetings of the DHS-FEMA PS-Prep Working Group to determine the best way forward for the program, the development process included numerous public meetings sponsored to solicit input.

ANAB also drew on its 20 years of experience in management systems accreditation and worked with preparedness experts and stakeholders to develop a credible and robust voluntary program for accredited certification available for private sector businesses.

The ANAB program will allow private sector organizations to demonstrate through formal certification and other means their compliance with voluntary preparedness and business continuity standards. The three standards designated by DHS provide businesses with a flexible range of options from which to choose to enable them to become more resilient.

"The PS-Prep program recognizes the importance of up-front planning to ensure business continuity even when calamitous events occur," Connie Conboy, Chair of ANAB's Board, said. "It facilitates the application of national and international standards in support of U.S. private sector homeland security preparedness requirements."

ANAB will be responsible for carrying out independent accreditations, overseeing the certification process, and monitoring the operations of any third-party conducting certifications for disaster/emergency management and business continuity programs.

Certifiers will be accredited by ANAB to audit and issue certification to private sector organizations that conform with the designated standards. A publicly accessible list of organizations with accredited PS-Prep certification will be maintained.

Read the DHS news release on PS-Prep standards