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9-11 Commission Report Includes Endorsement of American National Standard on Emergency Preparedness

New York, Jul 22, 2004

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission), has completed and released its final report on the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Among the scores of recommendations in the 567-page report, the Commission endorses an American National Standard for private sector emergency preparedness, which establishes a common set of criteria and terminology for preparedness, disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity programs.

“The mandate of the Department of Homeland Security does not end with government; the department is also responsible for working with the private sector to ensure preparedness,” the report declares in Section 12, What to Do? A Global Strategy. “Homeland security and national preparedness…often begins with the private sector.”

As the 9-11 Commission examined the emergency response to 9/11, it became apparent through witness testimony that the private sector remains largely unprepared for a terrorist attack, and that the absence of a widely embraced private-sector preparedness standard was a principal contributing factor to this lack of preparedness.

The Commission responded by asking the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop a consensus on a “National Standard for Preparedness” for the private sector. ANSI convened safety, security, and business continuity experts from a wide range of industries and associations, as well as from federal, state, and local government stakeholders, to consider the need for standards for private sector emergency preparedness and business continuity. On April 29, 2004, ANSI presented a recommendation developed by the Institute’s Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) that offered the American National Standard for Disaster/ Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs (NFPA 1600).

From the text of the Commission’s report:

Recommendation: We endorse the American National Standards Institute’s recommended standard for private preparedness. We were encouraged by Secretary Tom Ridge’s praise of the standard, and urge the Department of Homeland Security to promote its adoption. We also encourage the insurance and credit-rating industries to look closely at a company’s compliance with the ANSI standard in assessing its insurability and credit-worthiness. We believe that compliance with the standard should define the standard of care owed by a company to its employees and the public for legal purposes. Private-sector preparedness is not a luxury; it is a cost of doing business in the post-9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money, and national security.

The final report is available from in PDF format. The report is also available in bookstores nationwide and from the Government Printing Office.

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