Steps to Accreditation

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 Program access to the PowerStandards via PowerDMS and other services.  An EMAP subscription is valid for one calendar year.  Subscribing does not commit a Program to seek accreditation; but does allow a Program to complete their self-assessment.

EMAP has partnered with PowerDMS to allow Programs the ability to electronically capture and streamline self-assessments via their PowerStandards Tool.  Here are the key components of the PowerStandards Tool:

  • Electronic Standards Manual
  • Standards Mapping
  • Standards Assignment
  • Content Linking
  • Upload Attachments
  • Automatic Notifications
  • Digital Highlighting
  • Dashboards
  • Exportable Reports
  • Mock Assessment/Survey Capabilities
  • Task Management
  • Side-by-Side Comparison
  • Bulk Copy Tasks
  • Bulk Copy Attachments
  • Bulk Upload of Documents (up to a certain amount)
  • 5 Lite Policy Licenses
  • Self-paced Learning Portal
  • Access to Webinars
  • Online Self-Help Training Videos and Quick Sheets
  • Access to Service Desk for Questions/Assistance

More info on PowerDMS and PowerStandards.

The subscription package consists of the following:

  • Licenses to the PowerStandards via PowerDMS Tool for one calendar year;
  • Assistance in providing information to aid presentations to executive and/or elected leadership;
  • Training on the utilization of PowerStandards;
  • Unlimited access to model practices and plans via EMAP’s Content Hub;
  • Unlimited access to EMAP webinar series on Standards and Model Practices via EMAP’s Content Hub; and
  • Opportunities to participate on standards development work groups.

Step 2: Self-Assessment and Application

The Applicant Program wishing to apply would complete an application and application fee. An estimate of the costs of the on-site assessments will be provided to the program. 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 PowerStandards 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 73 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 PowerStandards, 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 notify EMAP.  The Application period is valid for twelve calendar months and includes Technical Assistance from an assigned EMAP Assessment Team Leader along with document peer reviews of two standard areas (4.1 is mandatory).  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.

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 with 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 a preliminary assessment report, which is presented to the Program and 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 73 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 73 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 consecutive accreditation. The consecutive accreditation process involves essentially the same steps as the original application process. Consecutive Accreditation will call for documentation and compliance information of the Program’s performance during the maintenance period. The consecutive accreditation on-site assessment may be less arduous to accomplish in that documentation will have been previously assembled and reviewed annually.

Applicant Guide to Accreditation. This document describes the accreditation process in detail.  The Guide is intended for Program’s that wish to go through the assessment and accreditation process



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