The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) has released a workshop report examining potential approaches for a standards-based national program establishing common metrics for resiliency. Resiliency refers to the ability of a given system or structure to mitigate the severity and likelihood of losses or failure. The one-day workshop, Resiliency Metrics: Standards, Test Labs, and Methods was held on August 22, 2012, in New Orleans, and included representatives of government agencies and standards developing organizations (SDOs), among others. Participants looked at current resiliency standards and discussed ways to establish a meaningful methodology for measuring resilience.
Since 2003, the ANSI-HSSP has worked with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to bolster the development of voluntary standards related to homeland security and emergency preparedness. The workshop addressed the concept of a public-private labeling program for resilience inspired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s ENERGY STAR program. The proposed program would initially focus on structures, but could be expanded to cover transportation and the commercial sector.
During the workshop’s first discussion, Standards in All Aspects of Resilience, participants looked at current standards related to resiliency and areas where gaps exist. Representatives of SDOs suggested that building-related resiliency issues could largely be eliminated by requiring all structures to comply fully with existing U.S. building codes, but acknowledged that mandating such compliance would likely be expensive and difficult. Participants also suggested focusing resiliency education efforts on community influencers, rather than on comprehensive and expensive public education campaigns, and investigating ways to create financial and other incentives to encourage businesses and other organizations to meet resiliency metrics.
The second discussion, Measuring Resilience, examined existing programs for measuring the resilience of a variety of systems, as well as the organizations that currently carry out standards-based resiliency measurements. A number of different approaches were suggested by attendees for DHS’s proposed resiliency metrics, including the leveraging of existing resiliency programs, the use of a checklist-based approach to resiliency measures, and the implementation of a looser resiliency framework involving a collection of relevant standards.
During the workshop’s third and final discussion, Exploring Private/Public Partnerships for Potential System for Designating Resilience, participants evaluated current rating systems in light of their potential to include resiliency requirements. Some attendees raised concerns about the risks carried by the DHS’s proposed resiliency rating system, suggesting that public opinion could drive consumers away from labeled products if an improperly built or installed product that had received a DHS label failed in a significant way.
The workshop report contains a series of “next steps” for resiliency metrics, building on the viewpoints and arguments raised by participants. The steps include:
- Increased focus on compliance with current codes
- Educating the public on issues related to resiliency
- Closer examination of existing programs for the purposes of bolstering resiliency
The full workshop report is available here.
The ANSI-HSSP provides the unique opportunity for the homeland security, emergency preparedness, business continuity communities, and other stakeholders to come together to discuss strategic approaches to current challenges, recent successes, and future outlooks. For more information on the ANSI-HSSP, visit www.ansi.org/hssp.