Seattle first Northwest city to achieve national Emergency Management accreditation

The City of Seattle’s emergency management program was accredited by the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Commission at their spring meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.  Seattle becomes the first city in the four-state FEMA region to achieve accreditation. This achievement highlights commitment of the City and the Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) to improving emergency preparedness, responsiveness, and recovery.

“While there is no way to predict when a natural hazard, accident or incident occurs, we will continue to prepare and plan for how to best respond to crisis in order to save lives and coordinate recovery,” said Mayor Murray. “I applaud the hard-work of our emergency planners and staff for achieving this accreditation—demonstrating that public preparedness and safety remains the top priority for first responders, emergency staff, and City leaders.”

EMAP is a set of professional standards developed for emergency management programs designed to demonstrate that programs have thoughtfully studied the impacts their communities face, developed emergency plans, trained, educated, and exercised appropriately for those hazards.  Seattle’s OEM developed documents and protocols over the course of several years to address:

·         Emergency authorities

·         Hazard identification and mitigation

·         Prevention

·         Operational readiness

·         Incident management

·         Resource management and logistics

·         Mutual aid

·         Communications and warning

·         Operations and procedures

·         Facility readiness

·         Training, exercises, and corrective actions

·         Public education and information

“Accreditation is the stamp of approval by subject matter experts from around the nation – providing Seattle a formal recognition by third party professionals as to the quality of the City’s emergency preparedness efforts,” said Barb Graff, Director of the Office of Emergency Management. “It shows the City’s commitment to excellence in emergency management.”

A team of emergency management subject matter experts from across the country spent a week in Seattle last September reviewing OEM documents to certify that Seattle’s program met each of the 64 standard elements.  The EMAP Commission, based upon that assessment, granted 5-year accreditation to the City of Seattle.

Preparing for emergencies collaborative effort between City departments, the Mayor’s office, City Council, community stakeholders.  Major emergency preparedness and public safety milestones in the last several years have included the production of a hazards interactive map, updating of all of the City’s emergency plans, and adaptation of public education materials all available .