County First in State to Receive EMAP Accreditation (VIDEO & PHOTO)
County Executive Ike Leggett took part in the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) ceremony for the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) on Friday. With the successful completion of the process, Montgomery becomes the first county in the state of Maryland to receive this official accreditation. Nationally, it is the 22nd local jurisdiction (county, city, or parish) to receive this distinction. OEMHS successfully complied with all standards and was granted accreditation status which, if EMAP standards are maintained, remains in effect for five years.
“This is a considerable accomplishment for our County OEMHS and further proof of the quality of the programs they have developed,” said Leggett. “I am very proud of not only our emergency management and homeland security staff, but also of all of our County agencies who come together to deliver an exemplary team response during an emergency.”
Joining the County Executive at the recognition ceremony were: EMAP Commissioner and Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for Ramsey County, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area Judson Freed; County Councilmember and Council Public Safety Committee Chair Marc Elrich, Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Preparedness Director Brendan McClusky and MEMA Regional Liaison Officer John Reginaldi; OEMHS Director Chris Voss with the OEMHS staff, and representatives from several County departments involved in emergency response such as Police, Fire and Rescue, Health and Human Services, Transportation, General Services, Public Information, Procurement and Finance.
The accreditation represents over nine months of work to provide substantiating documentation of meeting 64 EMAP requirements in 16 categories to include: planning, resource management, training, exercises, evaluations, corrective actions communications and warning which forms the foundation of the nation’s emergency preparedness system.
“Montgomery County is honored to be accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program commission,” said OEMHS Director Voss. “We are only one of twelve counties in the entire United States (out of 3,007 counties total) to now be EMAP accredited. We are very proud to have Montgomery County join such an exclusive club.”
“The emergency management community is becoming redefined as more government entities and businesses see the necessity to ensure they are prepared for and may respond to any identified hazard that will affect them,” said Barb Graff, director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and chair of the EMAP Commission. “By achieving accreditation these programs demonstrate, through proving compliance to standards of excellence, the commitment of their communities’ safety.”
EMAP’s mission is to build safer communities with measurable standards of excellence for emergency management programs and is the only accreditation process for emergency management programs.
The accreditation ceremony marked the last official event for OEMHS Director Chris Voss who is leaving his position with Montgomery County and moving to Oregon to assume a similar position.
Leggett has announced the appointment of current OEMHS Operations Division Chief Chuck Crisostomo as Acting OEMHS Director.