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Continuity of Operations Planning

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Mike Chard

on 4 September 2013

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Transcript of Continuity of Operations Planning

Continuity of Operations Planning Using a Crystal Ball
Features of COOP
Wrap Up & Closing Thoughts
A Final Thought
If it was only that easy.....
3 Levels of Planning
- a plan, method, or series of maneuvers for obtaining a specific goal or result.
-functional definition, defines something (e.g. a variable, term or object) in terms of the specific process or set of validation tests used to determine its presence and quantity.
- characterized by skillful tactics or maneuvering or procedure: tactical movements pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage.

Site Evacuation Plans, EOC Operations Manual, Hazard Specific Operational Plans, Shelter Plan, Site Access and Re-Entry Plan
Base EOP, Master Plan, Recovery Plan & Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Damage Assessment Plan, ESF Annexes, Resource Mobilization Plan, COOP, Facility Emergency Plan
Policy Group and overall guidance.
Tactical and resource management
Roles and Responsibilities, integration and actions.
Major Components
COOP Contacts and Teams
– People and groups responsible for planning, relocation, support and other continuity functions.

Orders of Succession
– Designating primary positions within an organization and the individuals who possess the skills and experience to assume their responsibilities.

Primary and Alternate Facilities
– Locations where an organization operates and identified locations to move as required.

Mission Essential Functions
– The essential functions that an organization is expected to perform to be considered operational.

Vital Records/Resources
– The “things” an organization relies upon to complete its essential functions.

– How do you communicate the information/status with your personnel.

So What is COOP?
“COOP” is the abbreviated term for Continuity of Operations Planning

A COOP plan should clearly define the steps an organization will take during times of disruption to ensure they can continue their operations

COOP plans usually concentrate on three main areas
- People
- Places
- Things

A close relative to COOP is “BCP”, BCP is the abbreviated term for Business Continuity Planning and is usually the term used by the private sector
- Business disruptions cause loss of $$$$$
- 40% of small businesses that close due to major disruptions never re-open

COG is the abbreviated term for Continuity of Government and is more of a concept than an actual plan

Multiple partner organizations within a jurisdiction who have COOP plans are considered to have achieved COG

The Reality of COOP
COOP planning is not rocket science: It’s mostly common sense, however it needs to be documented.

A good COOP plan should answer the questions that an organization would face if their organization faced a disruption.

What type of events could cause a disruption?
Where could/would we go?
How would we communicate the message of relocation?
What does our organization do and what functions are most important?
What items would we need to do complete our functions?

COOP plans need to be developed by a team of people who have a broad perspective of the organization and its duties

Individual COOP plans should be created for each of the departments within a jurisdiction, and in some cases departments may have multiple COOP plans
COOP plans should be reviewed and updated regularly
Orders of Succession
Identify key positions within your organization.

List the specific individuals or titles of positions authorized to take over.

Mission Essential Functions
Mission Essential Functions are the duties an organization must complete to be considered operational.

Mission Essential Functions vary by organization:
- Patrol and investigate incidents (Police)
- Conduct arraignment hearings (Court)
- Process payroll to county employees (Finance)
- Provide vaccinations to patients (Health)
- Receive and dispatch 911 calls (911)

Mission Essential Functions need to be prioritized

Suggestions for your Mission Essential Functions
Write the information as if you’re not the person reading the plan.
Use action verbs: Ability to print…We must be able to process…

Vital Records
Vital Records / Vital Resources are the items an organization relies upon to assist in completing their functions.

Examples of Vital records / Vital Resources might include:
Software Systems
Hard Copy Documents / Manuals
Specialized Equipment or Tools

For each Vital Record, be sure to document:
Is it backed up/duplicated/protected?
Where is it backed up?
How often is it backed up?
Who do you contact to request a backed up version?

Alternate Facilities
Alternate Facilities are pre-identified locations where an organization could relocate their operations

When identifying Alternate Facility locations, consider the
needs of your organization carefully

Adequate Space
Specialized Requirements (courts/sequestered jury room)

In some cases, an organization may not be able identify a location, but should still develop a list of amenities/requirements to suit their operational needs

Consider coordinating relocation options with similar organizations in nearby jurisdictions

Communications and Instructions
Can be easily overlooked and proves to be a major breakdown in many COOP events

How will you communicate information and/or instructions to your personnel?

Does your organization have a communication method or standard in place?
800 phone number
Call Tree
Calling System
Social Media

Training and Exercises
One of the most important processes of your plan.

Helps identify gaps in your plan.

Trains staff on the COOP plan content and the roles each individual plays.

Exercises do not always have to be a large, time consuming, or costly event to perform.

Inexpensive alternative:
- Tape off an important room for an hour with a note reading "Inaccessible” and watch how people react, can personnel still perform their job?
- Are alternatives available for items located/affected by this inconvenience?
- Does this cause a disruption in operations?

Update you plan!

“I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” 

“The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.” 

The most important planning tool is flexibility!

Keep These Four Things in Mind!
your efforts on core outcomes.
as you go do not get locked into one way.
your efforts this is way of doing business not a project.
accomplishments and those who support and drive the process.
Recovery begins immediately.
Phases of Recovery
unmet needs
short term
medium term
long term
COOP to Recovery
New Normal Vision
Establish the vision in the COOP / Recovery plan.
Calibrate as early as possible with policy, operational and key stakeholders.
Modify as needed.

Debrief and After Action Reporting
Establish a policy for conducting briefings, debriefings
and AARs.
Strong design features
Concrete implementation plan
Goal distance
Stakeholder involvement
Fiscal features
KISS- Keep it simple and sustainable

Successful Planning
Plans and Procedures to ensure that essential functions are performed.
Training and exercises to ensure a working COOP capability.
Maintenance and Updating of the plan.
COOP Activities

Start by creating a complete list of personnel and contacts within your organization.

Remember to include extended resources outside your organization.
Local Emergency Management
Facility Managers
IT Managers

Develop teams and identify the actions each
member is responsible for completing
Planning Team
Relocation Team

COOP Contacts and Teams
First do not look at the end of the process as just moving to a new location.

Meet with your organization leaders and discuss the importance and reasons for COOP.

Gather basic contact information of personnel.

Ask some qualifying questions to your group:
What type events could occur to cause COOP activation?
Where could/would we go?
How would we communicate the message of relocation?
What does our organization do and what is most important?
What items would we need to do complete our functions?

So Where to Start?
A shiny printed plan in a binder IS NOT
the outcome of COOP.

COOP is a constant ongoing process due to:
Personnel changes/turnover
Changes in technology
Changes in an organization’s operation/procedures

COOP requires strong logistical support.

Things change;
policies need to be revised.
funding is impacted
staffing & leadership
community make - up
The New Normal
After Action Report
Summary of events
Use debriefing info to formulate.
List of action items
Responsible party or organization.
Completion date.
Check in or future meeting schedule.
Situation report, communications, logistics needs and operational go / no go.
What happened (the facts).
What went wrong.
What went well.
What do we need to work on.
Who is assigned and thank you.
Full transcript