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EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT Norma McCormick – Corporate Health Works


A standard for emergency management


This article is based on a presentation to the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society held in Montreal in September 2012. It focuses on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z1600-08, the first edition of a standard for emergency management and business continuity programs.


Temperature increases are slowly occurring, as evidenced by the polar ice cap melt and rising ocean levels. But the immediate and accelerating problem is climatic extremes – typhoons, floods, droughts – which continue to occur with increased frequency. These extremes of weather also have the potential to challenge our organisations’ emergency management capabilities. This is what the experts are now calling the new ‘risk normal’. Every organisation has its own mission


and responsibilities, resources and capabilities, operating principles and procedures and must identify what constitutes a disruption, emergency or disaster that could affect its ability to function in a given circumstance and situation. This may be an occurrence or imminent threat to the organisation of localised, widespread or severe damage, injury, loss of life, or property loss to infrastructure resulting from natural, human or technological causes. These incidents may strain or exceed the normal capabilities of an organisation, requiring the response of outside resources and assistance for recovery which may also be overwhelmed by the impact of the event. CSA Z1600-08 was the first Canadian


standard to outline the requirements for a comprehensive emergency management program. It established the elements of a continuous improvement process to develop, implement, maintain, and evaluate emergency management and business continuity programs that address the functions of prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. CSA Z1600-08 was developed using the


2007 edition of the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business


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Continuity Programs (NFPA 1600 – 2007) as a seed document. This voluntary consensus standard for emergency preparedness provided a foundation for disaster/emergency management planning and operations in private and public sector organisations and was widely used both in the US and internationally. The CSA Z1600 Technical Committee (TC) determined that the NFPA standard was not entirely suitable for use in the Canadian context, especially with respect to the technical requirements and definitions. As a result of its review, the TC developed the first edition of CSA Z1600 as a management system standard. This describes the elements of a continuous improvement process to develop, implement, maintain, and evaluate emergency management and business continuity programs that address the functions of prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The elements of a continuous improvement process included in the Standard are program management; planning; implementation; evaluation; and management review. This is commonly identified as the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT model. Accreditations Canada investigated the


potential of incorporating Z1600 content into the last revision of the Leadership Standard that is used for surveys starting after 4 September 2012. Feedback from stakeholders did not support this. However Accreditations Canada did utilise some of the content from Z1600 to enhance the standard content relating to planning and responding


Norma McCormick


Norma McCormick is founder and principal of Corporate Health Works, Inc. A healthcare administrator by profession, she has worked in the fields of human services, systems evaluation and planning, health promotion, occupational safety and health and environmental management since 1967. She is on the Canadian Standards Association Board of Directors, CSA’s Standards Policy Board and Strategic Steering Committee on Occupational Safety and Health. She is also a member of four Technical Committees: Occupational Health and Safety Management System standard (CSA Z1000), Emergency Management and Business Continuity. (CSA Z1600) Workplace Ergonomics (CSA Z1004) and Office Ergonomics (CSA Z412). For her volunteer contribution to standards development to CSA, Norma received CSA’s Award of Merit in June 2006. At the international level she is Convenor for Working Group 2 – Terminology for ISO TC 223 – Societal Security and a member of ISO’s Strategic Advisory Group – Security (ISO SAG-S).


IFHE DIGEST 2014


‘CSA Z1600-08 was the first Canadian standard to outline the requirements for a comprehensive emergency management program.’


to emergencies and contingency planning in the Leadership standard 14. The CSA Z1600 TC was reconvened and a second edition, CSA Z1600-13 is due for release soon. The updated Standard is now titled Emergency and Continuity Management Program. The Purpose statement reaffirms ‘the requirements to develop, implement, evaluate, maintain and continuously improve an emergency and continuity management program for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery’. It is consistent with ‘An Emergency Management Framework for Canada’ and provides an overview of the principles and general policy concepts of emergency management in a Canadian context, agreed on by the federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for emergency management. The main changes to the Standard are in the Planning, Implementation and Evaluation sections. The revised standard also expands the requirements and guidance for business


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