There are 5 steps to accreditation. To maintain your accreditation you must maintain your compliance and every five years go through the accreditation process again to be reaccredited.
Procedures for each step of the accreditation process is available in the Applicant Guide to Accreditation.
Step 1: Subscription
Applicant programs will subscribe as the first step to the accreditation process. Subscribing provides a program access to the Program Assessment Tool and other services. An EMAP subscription is valid for one calendar year and is renewable for a 5% discound if received 30-days before subscription expires. Subscribing does not commit a program to seek accreditation; but does allow a program to complete their self-assessment.
The subscription package consists of the following:
- Unlimited license to the EMAP Program Assessment Tool for on calendar year;
- Assistance in providing information to aid presentations to executive and/or elected leadership;
- An optional complimentary webinar/training session and EMAP staff support on an instructional tutorial for the Program Assessment Tool;
- Each subscription waives the registration fee to attend the EMAP Training Course;
- Document peer-reviews of self-assessment (two standard areas) that culminate in a report to the Applicant Program;
- Unlimited access to model practices and plans; and
- Opportunities to participate on standards development work groups.
Step 2: Self-Assessment and Application
Once the Applicant Program has subscribed and attended an EMAP Training Course, it is time to begin the process of self-assessment. While Applicant Programs have access to the EMAP Program Assessment Tool when they subscribe, the first step of the self-assessment is to select an accreditation manager. The accreditation manager is the individual within the program responsible for coordinating the administrative aspects of performing the self-assessment. This includes obtaining and documenting evidence of compliance with the standards and other scheduling and oversight activities. Applicant Program's self-assessment involves a review of the program against each of 64 standards within the Emergency Management Standard. As the self-assessment is conducted, the program asks, "Is our program in compliance with this standard?", and compiles documentation to support positive answers.
This self-assessment is recorded within the online EMAP Program Assessment Tool, access to which is provided as part of EMAP subscription. During the self-assessment, additional review or corrective activities can be entered in areas in which compliance has not been attained or cannot be documented. When the program believes the self-assessment is satisfactorily completed, they would select "Submit" within the EMAP Program Assessment Tool. This submits all data entered into the system to the EMAP office and serves as evidence of its readiness for on-site assessment. EMAP staff will review the self-assessment and will contact the Applicant Program to determine if they wish to seek accreditation. Once the subscribed program has completed their self-assessment they can choose whether or not they wish to seek accreditation. The Applicant Program wishing to apply would complete an application and accreditation fee. An estimate of the costs of the on-site assessments will be provided to the program.
Step 3: On-Site Assessment
The EMAP staff provides the applicant program information about the proposed schedule for the on-site assessment, the composition of the assessment team and required fees. The applicant program pays the fees, reviews the assessment team composition for potential conflicts, and coordinates on-site assessment details with EMAP staff. The final assessment team is selected and the team is provided logistics information and any read-ahead materials. The assessment team travels to the program's site as scheduled and conducts the on-site assessment during the work week, reviewing and verifying information provided in the program's application and documentation materials. The assessment team conducts an exit briefing and prepares findings on the assessment in an assessment report, which is presented to the program and to the EMAP Program Review Committee.
Step 4: Committee Review and Commission Decision
The assessment team provides its findings to the Program Review Committee in a preliminary assessment report that includes summaries of compliance issues for the program for each of 64 EMAP standards. The report outlines key documentation that supported the assessors findings of compliance or non-compliance. The program has the opportunity to respond to the report. A copy of the program's comments or response also are provided to the Program Review Committee. The Program Review Committee's role is to review the assessment report along with application materials, comments from the applicant program, and any additional information provided by the applicant program and make a recommendation to the EMAP Commission as to accreditation status. The recommendation will be either accreditation; conditional accreditation; or accreditation denied. For full accreditation, compliance with all 64 standards is required. If the report includes areas of non-compliance, the program should be prepared to demonstrate to the Program Review Committee how it will address all areas of non-compliance within nine months. If the applicant program is successful in showing this, the Program Review Committee will recommend "conditional accreditation". The applicant program may attend the Program Review Committee meeting at which its accreditation application will be considered. The committee's deliberation is conducted during an executive session.
The Program Review Committee's recommendation is forwarded to the EMAP Commission for final action. If the applicant program is accredited, the EMAP Commission provides a letter and certificate of accreditation. Conditional accreditation is available to programs with deficiencies that can be addressed within nine months. If accreditation is denied, the applicant program will be provided with an opportunity to learn the reasons for this decision.
Step 5: Accreditation and Maintenance
After accreditation is achieved, accredited programs are expected to maintain compliance with the standards and keep proof of compliance up to date. Each accredited program will complete and file with the commission an annual report via the Program Assessment Tool. Accreditation is valid for five years, after which the entity will be encouraged to apply for reaccreditation. The reaccreditation process involves essentially the same steps as the original application process. Reaccreditation will call for documentation and compliance information of the program performance during the maintenance period. The reaccreditation on-site assessment may be less arduous to accomplish in that documentation will have been previously assembled and reviewed annually.