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As ARMA's Director of Professional Resources, I have worked for ARMA since
1995 - primarily with the book publishing program, but also with ARMA's
standards development activities, and various responsibilities related to
our relationships with other professional associations.  We have recently
done a bit of re-organization here at ARMA HQ, and *one* result of that
reorganization has been to put  more focus on standards activities.  Hence,
my involvement with NFPA 232.

In terms of background - I have been a CRM since 1985, and served on the
Exam Development Committee for about 4 years (1995-1999).  I worked for
Phillips Petroleum Company, U S WEST, and a consulting firm before joining
ARMA staff in 1995.  I have a Master's Degree in Library Science and an MBA.
I've done some speaking at chapter, regional and international conferences
and have also had a few articles published.  I am a member of ISO TC46 /
SC11 working on the international records management standard.

In terms of the standard itself - I attended the May meeting of NFPA and
made a statement which supported the following points:
1.      The standard was inconsistently written, so it was not easy to tell
which requirements apply to "general records storage" and which apply to
vault storage, (i.e., protection for records of permanent, historical or
vital nature).
2.      This could lead to  "mis-application" of standards for vault storage
to storage for records which were merely inactive, and therefore did not
warrant the highest levels of protection.  Such mis-applications are likely
to result in unnecessarily increased costs for records owners.
3.      Records center owners and fire marshals should be able to tell
records managers what level(s) of protection their facility provides and at
what costs; the records manager should then make the decision as to where
they want to store their records.

To expand a bit on the above statements - it is very possible that the
inconsistencies in the standard are at least partially a result of the
combination of the two standards into one. The introduction to the new
standard states that there are 4 categories of storage environments and
levels of risk tolerance addressed in the standard. Sounds good - but when
you read through the text of the standard, it is not easy to pick out the
requirements for those 4 categories.....  My viewpoint - it should be easy
for both the fire marshal and the records manager to know what those
distinctions are.

I don't think anybody can argue with the economics of it being more
expensive to build facilities with higher levels of protection.  And, we all
know that those costs (whether incurred by a commercial vendor, or an
in-house records center) get passed on to the owners of records and users of
storage facilities.

At the same time - being a records manager myself - I believe that records
have more value than commodity paper storage.  Technically, they may burn at
the same rate - BUT, from an organizational viewpoint, even records that are
merely being retained until their retention period expires are more valuable
than blank paper.  Likewise, if I have vital records, historical/archival
records or records with permanent value, I'll want to store those in a
higher level of protection than my inactive records that are living out
their retention period.

The bottom line is - the owner of the records (i.e., the records manager)
should have the information at hand to be able to determine where they want
to store their records. NFPA 232 is the place where that information should
be standardized for fire marshals and records managers (and building
engineers, etc. etc.)

Since May, I have submitted proposals to NFPA for consideration during the
revision to emphasize these points.  In addition, I have proposed the
integration of formal records management terminology (as reflected in ARMA's
Glossary; which is an ANSI standard) rather than using terms and concepts
that do not fit with the records management profession.

Now, to Hugh's point about the involvement of the profession in this work -
it's important for me to hear from you as well.  So, when you're writing to
Hugh, or to Steve Hannestadt, or to NFPA itself, PLEEZ copy me as well -
([log in to unmask]) <mailto:[log in to unmask])> .  My involvement with this
standard is to represent the user community - I can do that better if I hear
more from you!!!!

Diane K. Carlisle, CRM
Director of Professional Resources
ARMA International
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