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International Safety: CSA Unveils Emergency Management, Business Continuity Standard

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) announced a new emergency management and business continuity programs standard, CSA Z1600, designed for private and public organizations of all sizes to use if disaster strikes.

According to a recent study, more than 40 per cent of Canadians say the company where they work does not have an emergency plan in place.

“A company without an emergency management and business continuity program is like a homeowner without insurance,” said Suzanne Kiraly, CSA president of standards. “A natural or human-induced disaster can happen anywhere at any time, and CSA Z1600 can improve the likelihood of organizations keeping their employees safe and their business running if disaster strikes.”

CSA Z1600 outlines the requirements for a comprehensive emergency management program that incorporates a risk-based, all hazards methodology, integrating emergency management and business continuity programs for a total program approach. The comprehensive standard also serves as a benchmark, allowing organizations to evaluate or initiate an emergency management and business continuity program that will work for them.

The standard is based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600 Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs standard.

“It has become increasingly important that public organizations and private businesses of all sizes be prepared for the fullest range of disasters that can strike,” said NFPA President James M. Shannon. “NFPA was extremely proud to build on our longstanding relationship with CSA to support the development of CSA Z1600 which will provide the blueprint for companies throughout the country.”

Being Prepared

A CSA - Leger Marketing online survey of 1,088 Canadian adults revealed that working Canadians do not have much confidence in or knowledge of their employer's level of emergency preparedness.

According to the survey, seven in 10 working Canadians say a disaster would affect their ability to do their jobs. Professional Canadians are the most likely to say that the ability to do their job would be affected if a disaster were to occur in their community (75 percent), followed by those employed in sales and service (70 percent).

In addition, the survey revealed that 18 percent working Canadians do not know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan in place.

Traditional emergency programs have focused on preparedness and response. CSA Z1600 is the first Canadian standard that includes both emergency and business continuity planning giving Canadian organizations a framework to manage risks and hazards more proactively.

Many public and private stakeholders have expressed a strong interest in ensuring that emergency management, security systems and standards evolve to be truly North American in scope and application. This demand led to the adaptation of NFPA 1600, the well-regarded U.S standard in this area, which is the foundation for CSA Z1600.

The new standard also was developed in cooperation with Public Safety Canada and other stakeholders including first responders, private sector and non-governmental organizations, emergency management and business continuity specialists, and various levels of government.

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