NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs, is an American National Standard that was first published in 1995. Over more than 20 years, NFPA 1600 has become the predominant standard of its type in the Western Hemisphere and has a strong user base in the Middle East and Asia. Many US corporations use NFPA 1600 as the basis for their global programs.

NFPA 1600 has been written into two Federal laws (PL 108-458, 2004 and PL 110-53, 2007). Public Law 110-53 was the driver behind the voluntary certification of private sector preparedness programs known as PS-Prep™. NFPA 1600 is also written into NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code, which is enforceable in about half of the United States. Connecticut, has incorporated NFPA 1600 by reference into their fire safety code.

The standard identifies the essential elements of a program “for preparedness including the planning, implementation, assessment, and maintenance of programs for prevention, mitigation, response, continuity, and recovery.” [NFPA 1600, 2016 edition, Section 1.2] One of its strengths is how it connects all of these program elements into an integrated program. The standard is a valuable a tool to evaluate and enhance your program.

Whether NFPA 1600 is legally enforceable or simply a “standard of care” as written by the 9/11 Commission in their 2004 report, it is an important tool that all professionals should add to their toolbox.

About the author

Don SchmidtDonald L. Schmidt, ARM, CBCP, CBCLA, MCP, CEM® is the CEO of Preparedness, LLC. He is the past-chair of the technical committee that was responsible for the 2010, 2013, and 2016 editions of NFPA 1600. He is the editor and co-author of “Implementing NFPA 1600 National Preparedness Standard published by NFPA and five other books. He is also a member of the USA’s technical advisory group to the ISO Security Committee, NFPA’s pre-incident planning committee, and ASTM’s school emergency preparedness committee.

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