Shortly after the 2005 floods in Calgary I was given the opportunity to represent Canada during the development of the ISO Standard on the Crisis Management of Water Utilities – ISO 24518. The new standard provides guidance for emergency and continuity management in order to respond and recover from any crisis situation.

Standards development, especially international standards, are challenging to say the least. The official development language for #ISO is English, even though ISO is based in France and most working groups have a contingent of non-english speaking country representatives. Our working group was made up of members from Japan, Germany, Israel, Morocco, France, Portugal, UK, and the USA. It was clear that each country had a vested interest in developing a standard that worked for all levels of utilities in first, second, and third world nations. The discussions, at times, become very detailed and frustrating as members attempt to decipher concepts and revise into the correct written English.

It takes leadership qualities from everyone in attendance to appreciate and understand the ability to accept differing points of view, and cooperate in a way that allows for the inclusion of national perspectives while ensuring the ultimate goal is attained.

From a Canadian perspective, we were successful in agreeing to certain process items so that the Emergency and Continuity Management Model developed right here in Canada became a focal point of the Standard. The Model has been used successfully over the years in British Columbia and Alberta for some of the largest disasters in Canadian history, and continues to be the building block for many new programs.

The Model can be found in this ISO Standard as well as in emergency response programs across the country. If anyone would like more information on Standards development or on the implementation of the Model, simply reach out to me and I will provide all the assistance I can.

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