There are 5 steps to certification. To maintain your certification you must maintain your compliance and every five years go through the accreditation process again to be reaccredited.
Procedures for each step of the accreditation process is available in the Applicant Guide to Certification.
Step 1: Subscription
Applicant programs will subscribe as the first step to the certification process. Subscribing provides a US&R Resource access to the Program Assessment Tool and other services. An EMAP subscription is valid for one calendar year and is renewable for a 5% discound if received 30-days before subscription expires. Subscribing does not commit a program to seek certification; but does allow a program to complete their self-assessment.
The subscription package consists of the following:
- Unlimited license to the EMAP Program Assessment Tool for on calendar year;
- Assistance in providing information to aid presentations to executive and/or elected leadership;
- An optional complimentary webinar/training session and EMAP staff support on an instructional tutorial for the Program Assessment Tool;
- Each subscription waives the registration fee to attend the EMAP US&R Standard Training Course;
- Document peer-reviews of self-assessment (two standard areas) that culminate in a report to the Applicant US&R Resource;
- Unlimited access to model practices and plans; and
- Opportunities to participate on standards development work groups.
Step 2: Self-Assessment and Application
Once the Applicant US&R Resource has subscribed and attended an EMAP US&R Standard Training Course, it is time to begin the process of self-assessment. While Applicant US&R Resources have access to the EMAP Program Assessment Tool when they subscribe, the first step of the self-assessment is to select an assessment manager. The assessment manager is the individual within the US&R Resource responsible for coordinating the administrative aspects of performing the self-assessment. This includes obtaining and documenting evidence of compliance with the standards and other scheduling and oversight activities. Applicant US&R Resource's self-assessment involves a review of the US&R Resource against each of 44 standards within the Urban Search and Rescue Standard. As the self-assessment is conducted, the US&R Resource asks, "Is our US&R Resource in compliance with this standard?", and compiles documentation to support positive answers.
This self-assessment is recorded within the online EMAP Program Assessment Tool, access to which is provided as part of EMAP subscription. During the self-assessment, additional review or corrective activities can be entered in areas in which compliance has not been attained or cannot be documented. When the US&R Resource believes the self-assessment is satisfactorily completed, they would select "Submit" within the EMAP Program Assessment Tool. This submits all data entered into the system to the EMAP office and serves as evidence of its readiness for on-site assessment. EMAP staff will review the self-assessment and will contact the Applicant US&R Resource to determine if they wish to seek accreditation. Once the subscribed US&R Resource has completed their self-assessment they can choose whether or not they wish to seek accreditation. The Applicant US&R Resource wishing to apply would complete an application and certification fee. An estimate of the costs of the on-site assessments will be provided to the US&R Resource.
Step 3: On-Site Assessment
The EMAP staff provides the applicant US&R Resource information about the proposed schedule for the on-site assessment, the composition of the assessment team and required fees. The applicant US&R Resource pays the fees, reviews the assessment team composition for potential conflicts, and coordinates on-site assessment details with EMAP staff. The final assessment team is selected and the team is provided logistics information and any read-ahead materials. The assessment team travels to the US&R Resource's site as scheduled and conducts the on-site assessment during the work week, reviewing and verifying information provided in the US&R Resource's application and documentation materials. The assessment team conducts an exit briefing and prepares findings on the assessment in an assessment report, which is presented to the US&R Resource and to the EMAP US&R Program Review Committee.
Step 4: Committee Review and Commission Decision
The assessment team provides its findings to the US&R Program Review Committee in a preliminary assessment report that includes summaries of compliance issues for the US&R Resource for each of 44 EMAP standards. The report outlines key documentation that supported the assessors findings of compliance or non-compliance. The US&R Resource has the opportunity to respond to the report. A copy of the US&R Resource's comments or response also are provided to the US&R Program Review Committee. The US&R Program Review Committee's role is to review the assessment report along with application materials, comments from the applicant US&R Resource, and any additional information provided by the applicant US&R Resource and make a recommendation to the EMAP Commission as to certification status. The recommendation will be either certification; conditional certification; or certification denied. For full certification, compliance with all 44 standards is required. If the report includes areas of non-compliance, the US&R Resource should be prepared to demonstrate to the US&R Program Review Committee how it will address all areas of non-compliance within nine months. If the applicant US&R Resource is successful in showing this, the US&R Program Review Committee will recommend "conditional certification". The applicant US&R Resource may attend the US&R Program Review Committee meeting at which its certification application will be considered. The committee's deliberation is conducted during an executive session.
The US&R Program Review Committee's recommendation is forwarded to the EMAP Commission for final action. If the applicant US&R Resource is certified, the EMAP Commission provides a letter and certificate of certification. Conditional certification is available to US&R Resource with deficiencies that can be addressed within nine months. If accreditation is denied, the applicant US&R Resource will be provided with an opportunity to learn the reasons for this decision.
Step 5: Certification and Maintenance
After certification is achieved, certified US&R Resources are expected to maintain compliance with the standards and keep proof of compliance up to date. Each certified US&R Resources will complete and file with the commission an annual report via the Program Assessment Tool. Certification is valid for four years, after which the entity will be encouraged to apply for recertification. The recertification process involves essentially the same steps as the original application process. Recertification will call for documentation and compliance information of the US&R Resource performance during the maintenance period. The recertification on-site assessment may be less arduous to accomplish in that documentation will have been previously assembled and reviewed annually.
Applicant Guide to Certification. This document describes in detail, the certification process. The Guide is intended for US&R Resources that wish to go through the administrative assessment and certification process.