The Role of Statutes, Regulations and Professional Standards in Emergency Responses
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law
May 23, 2006
The tragedies of 9/11 and Katrina bring to the fore the need for emergency action planning. Government has responded by enacting statutes and ordinances, and issuing regulations. Industry has responded through the promulgation of professional standards, especially NFPA 1600, which was highly praised by the 9/11 Commission. The National Fire Protective Association is one of the most prominent private standards setting organizations nationally and throughout the world. Its standards and codes are often incorporated into statutes, ordinances, and regulations.
This article outlines the role these sources of legal authority should play in establishing legal standards for emergency responses. It looks to both traditional legal precedence and the case law which has evolved around NFPA standards.
Unlike many earlier articles, this essay emphasizes that statutes, ordinances, regulations, and professional standards only set the floor for legal liability. The common law duty of reasonable care under the circumstances may impose a higher duty of care based upon the reasonable foreseeability of the risk.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: NFPA 1600, negligence, emergency planning, statutes, professional standards, regulations
Date posted: May 23, 2006