In order for a business or service to be certified by FEMA, it must undergo a certification process involving an initial review, internal analysis and final certification. All certification steps are conducted by the business and a third-party auditor for validation purposes. The business must undergo periodic reassessments to maintain the certification.
The first step of the FEMA certification is to conduct an initial review to examine what needs to be done for the voluntary certification, determine which preparedness standard of certification is appropriate for the business, allocate internal resources, organize a team to complete the certification and find an executive sponsor. The second step requires gathering documentation on the company's internal programs and regulations to support the preparedness standard, complete a self-assessment of the company and go over it with the sponsor. Companies also are required at this point to develop a project time line to come into compliance with the preparedness standard.
Executive sponsors must be organizations that have already successfully completed FEMA's certification process.
The third step requires the company to choose an independent assessor from a list of approved vendors provided by FEMA to conduct the certification assessment. Companies must go over all of the work and documentation from the first two steps with the assessor.