ISO Standards for Crisis Management

ISO is looking at the development of standards to improve crisis management in anticipation of, or in the face of, major disasters (natural or man-made) to mitigate their effects.

ISO Technical Committee 223, provisionally named “Societal Security”, has been established to develop International Standards or other ISO deliverables that will improve preparedness before a crisis, coordination during a crisis, and reconstruction and remedial action afterwards.

“Standardized channels save time and simplify cooperation in crisis management and are therefore of vital importance” commented ISO/TC 223 Chair, Ambassador Krister Kumlin, who is Senior Adviser to the Swedish Emergency Management Agency.“One important idea is that in the future, information can be interpreted and transferred between national and international companies, authorities, and organizations.”

The scope of crisis management is broad, spanning everything from preparation, analyses, forecasts, and development of systems to education, drills, and evaluation. Another example is the need for a global standard for symbols and pictures.

At its first meeting, ISO/TC 223 discussed and reached some basic agreements on the scope and structure of its future work. It will now prepare a business plan to guide its work. In addition, the committee established three working groups to address the following aspects:

  • societal security management,terminology, and
  • command and control, coordination, and cooperation.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: “Safety and security are among the central preoccupations of governments, to ensure the protection of their citizens, and the private sector, to assist in business continuity. Anticipating and responding to natural or other types of disasters requires the efficient collaboration of governments, non-government organizations, and businesses, and often involve international coordination and cooperation. The launching of ISO/TC 223 is a further demonstration of ISO’s commitment to provide the framework and process for developing consensus-based standards to help meet the challenges in this area, as illustrated by ISO’s recent publications for food safety management, information security, the security of global supply chains, and the use of biometrics for identification.”

Companies, governments, and organizations that wish to participate in, or provide input for, the work of ISO/TC 223 should contact the ISO member in their country for information on the possible options. The ISO member for the USA is the American National Standards Institute .