City’s emergency management agency earns accreditation

Hurricane Irene, damage
One of the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency's recent tasks was its response to damage from Hurricane Irene in August. File photo.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Asthaa Chaturvedi.

The city agency tasked with coordinating security and emergency response efforts earned a seal of approval from an accreditation group late last month.

The nonprofit Emergency Management Accreditation Program gave D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency full accreditation Oct. 28, approving its preparedness measures for different types of disasters.

“We wanted to align ourselves with agencies who have set the bar high,” Millicent West, the agency’s director, said. The accreditation process is voluntary.

EMAP has accredited 34 emergency management programs nationwide, comprising 28 state programs and a handful from cities as well.

West said one challenge for the assessors was to understand the District’s unique role, as it is neither a state nor a typical city.

“It’s a voluntary process, by going through it, you recognize that the sector of government is bringing all the organizations from the jurisdiction together in the process of emergency management,” Geni Jo Brawner, logistics and assessment coordinator for EMAP, said.

The agency’s recent tasks have included responding to Hurricane Irene and the subsequent flooding, as well as coordinating with the U.S. Park Police to monitor Occupy D.C. activities.

Accreditation is given on a five-year basis and the emergency management programs must remain compliant with standards and offer a yearly report summarizing steps taken to do so. D.C. received the approval nearly eight years ago as well.

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