CRANSTON, RI- The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) has earned the prestigious distinction of being awarded national accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). This is a significant achievement that demonstrates the State of Rhode Island has met the EMAP standards which measures the effectiveness of an emergency management program. Rhode Island has joined 35 other EMAP accredited states that have achieved this noteworthy milestone.
Peter Gaynor, appointed as the Director of RIEMA by Governor Raimondo in January 2015, and the entire RIEMA Team worked tirelessly over the past two-years to comprehensively overhaul and integrate the State of Rhode Island's emergency management program. During his tenure as the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Providence, he was the first municipality in the country to attain EMAP accreditation in 2010. Director Gaynor is now the first emergency management Director to be awarded EMAP accreditation at both the local and state levels.
"Meeting the standards outlined by EMAP was our goal from day one," said Director Gaynor. "Being recognized as EMAP compliant means that we are among the best emergency management programs in the country, and we take great pride in that. Emergency management is a community effort that requires multiple partners to plan, prepare, mitigate, respond, and recover as a coordinated team. EMAP evaluates 64 standards across 16 different program elements and Rhode Island was found to have met all standards within each element. This achievement reflects the hard work of the entire RIEMA Team and our many dedicated partners."
EMAP, an independent nonprofit organization, is a standard-based voluntary assessment and peer review accreditation process for government programs responsible for coordinating emergency management efforts. By meeting the EMAP standards, an emergency management program is recognized for having the ability to bring together key personnel, resources, and coordination from a variety of agencies and organizations in preparation for and in the response to an emergency. EMAP accreditation is valid for five years and the program must maintain compliance with the Emergency Management Standard to preserve its accreditation during that time.
"Providing emergency management programs the opportunity to be evaluated and recognized for compliance with standards certified by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and recognized by the industry complies with the EMAP's mission to build safer communities through credible standards of excellence," said Nichole Ishmael, EMAP Executive Director. "These programs demonstrate accountability and focus attention on areas and issues where resources are needed to heighten their preparedness efforts to any technical or natural disaster that may affect their communities."
Samantha Richer, RIEMA Planning Branch Chief and EMAP Program Manager, led the agency's accreditation process, dedicating nearly two years to the effort. The process involved the creation and revision of 90 emergency management plans which includes 50 Departmental Continuity of Operations Plans for the State of Rhode Island. "Our staff at RIEMA and our partners throughout the State of Rhode Island worked tirelessly to prepare for accreditation and ensure that the State Emergency Management Program was compliant with the standards set forth by EMAP," said RIEMA Planning Branch Chief, Samantha Richer.
"I want to personally thank Sam for her herculean efforts in organizing, writing, cross-referencing, formatting, pushing, pulling, twisting, banging, and generally keeping the pressure on the entire organization. It could not have been done without her perseverance and commitment," said Director Gaynor.
RIEMA promotes readiness and actively engages in supporting the municipalities and infrastructure in Rhode Island. RIEMA's primary objective is to reduce the loss of life and property for the whole community while ensuring that as a State we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all natural, human-caused, and technological hazards.
For more information about RIEMA, visit: www.riema.ri.gov. For more information about EMAP, visit: https://www.emap.org/.