Public Law 110-53... Get Ready!
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 July 2012 07:49 Written by Dick Wagner Monday, 01 February 2010 00:00
NEW FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RULES THAT YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WERE COMING!
The Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS‑Prep) is mandated by Title IX of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (the Act.) Congress directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement a program of certification of private entities using standards adopted by DHS that promote private sector preparedness, including disaster management, emergency management and business continuity programs. The PS-Prep Program is to enhance nationwide resilience in an all-hazards environment by encouraging private sector preparedness. The program will provide a mechanism by which a private sector entity - a company, facility, hospital, university, etc.- may be certified by an accredited third party establishing that the private sector entity conforms to one or more preparedness standards adopted by DHS.
Currently there is no comprehensive set of standards by which American businesses can assess their preparedness for all hazards. Having a plan to reduce the impact of all hazards on business and protect employees can help ensure that a business is able to recover and reopen following a disaster or other emergencies.
Participation in the PS-Prep program is voluntary. No private sector entity will be required by DHS to comply with any standard adopted under the program. However, DHS encourages all private sector entities to seriously consider seeking certification on one or more standards that will be adopted by DHS.
Blog Editor Note: Even though this says "Voluntary" - understand this is just the beginning. YOU MAY BE DENIED INSURANCE COVERAGE IF YOU HAVE NOT IMPLEMENTED THE "VOLUNTARY" PROGRAM! In my opinion, this is just the beginning of another round of oppressive federal government intrusion into the private sector business world...
Designation of Preparedness Standards
Congress directed DHS to designate one or more standards for assessing private sector preparedness. The standards will be used by accredited certifying entities to evaluate and certify compliance by private sector entities with the standards adopted by DHS.
DHS has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to adopt the three standards listed below under PS-Prep. The notice also requests public comment on these standards and other programmatic issues:
•ASIS International SPC.1-2009 Organizational Resilience: Security Preparedness, and Continuity Management System. Available at no cost.
•British Standards Institution 25999 Business Continuity Management: Part 1 (2006) and Part 2 (2007). The British Standards Institution is making both parts available for a reduced fee of $19.99 each.
•National Fire Protection Association 1600:2007 Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management & Business Continuity Program. Available at no cost.
•Each of these standards comprehensively deals with preparedness and can be applied to the majority of private sector entities.
Small Business Considerations
The Act recognized that small businesses need to be treated differently in the PS-Prep program, and requires DHS to give special consideration to small business concerns (as defined by Section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632)). The December 24, 2008, Federal Register Notice (73 FR 79140) contained an extensive discussion of DHS' approaches to best reflect the interests of small businesses and the purpose of the PS-Prep Program. DHS continues to seek comments from small businesses and others on the adoption of these standards and their impact on future decisions to seek certification under the PS-Prep Program.
Understanding the Certification Process
DHS has selected an accreditation body, the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), to develop and oversee the certification process, manage the accreditation and accredit qualified third parties to carry out the certification in accordance with the accepted procedures of the program. Private sector organizations, including businesses and critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) entities, may apply for certification to the applicable requirements of preparedness standard(s) adopted by DHS. Certification, in the context of this program, is confirmation that an accredited third party certification organization has validated a private sector entity's preparedness to a standard. Once an organization is certified, there will be a periodic reassessment and audit process so the certification organization can continue to have confidence in the organization's conformity to emergency preparedness and business continuity management system. The certifying organizations will be accredited by ANAB. DHS will maintain and make public a listing of any private sector entity certified as being in compliance with PS-Prep, if that private sector entity consents to such listing.
DHS will monitor the effectiveness of the program on an ongoing basis. DHS will review the accreditation and certification program annually to ensure its effectiveness, to include the operations and management of any of the accreditation and certification bodies and the designated standards. DHS will make improvements and adjustments to PS-Prep as necessary and appropriate.
Private Sector Preparedness Coordination Council
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is the Designated Officer responsible for the accreditation and certification program. The Administrator chairs a Private Sector Preparedness Coordinating Council comprised of department leadership from the Science & Technology Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, and Office of the Private Sector. Once standards are adopted, the Council will focus on the remaining requirements of the law, which include addressing small business considerations, defining and promoting the business case to encourage private sector entities to work toward voluntary certification and overseeing the program's progress.
How to Get Involved
Private sector entities can get involved in PS-Prep by submitting comments on the identified standards, suggesting additional private sector standards to be adopted by DHS, and participating in future public meetings on the topic. Details will be posted at www.fema.gov/privatesectorpreparedness.
DHS has posted the Federal Register notice at www.regulations.gov. Comments may be submitted to www.regulations.gov or FEMA-POLICY@dhs.gov. (Identify Docket ID FEMA-2008-0017). For further information please e-mail PrivateSectorPreparedness@hsi.dhs.gov.
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