The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management has reached a milestone shared by only five counties across the nation – achieving accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).
Emergency Management Director Steve Bailey relayed a comment by one of the members of the accreditation committee as he shared the news with his staff. “He said ‘Pierce County, Washington is the new national standard on what a local Emergency Management Program should be,’ and I couldn’t be more proud to deliver this level of quality service to our residents.”
“Pierce County is the first jurisdiction within Washington state – local, county, or state – to achieve national accreditation,” County Executive Pat McCarthy said. “That shows an incredible level of commitment and preparation by Emergency Management staff. This is another demonstration that Pierce County is well prepared for emergencies.”
The accreditation program is part of the National Emergency Manager’s Association (NEMA) and the International Association of Emergency Manager’s (IAEM).
Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is made up of five divisions: Emergency Management, Enhanced 9-1-1, Fire Prevention Bureau, Radio Communications and the Washington State Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. The role of all its divisions is to enhance public safety by assisting in preventing, mitigating, preparing, responding and recovering from all types of hazards, emergencies and disasters. It is through these goals that the department was able to meet all 103 standards in the EMAP accreditation process.
Pierce County documented how it met national standards for disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems. The county then documented compliance with standards used in the accreditation process and underwent a peer-review assessment. The assessors also noted several best practices in Pierce County’s program, including technology applications, training, grant management and public education.
Working collaboratively since 1997, state, local and federal emergency managers developed EMAP to provide quality standards and a process for determining compliance. The EMAP process evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with requirements in 16 areas, including planning; resource management; training; exercises, evaluations, and corrective actions; and communications and warning. More information is available at www.emaponline.org.