Residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have a lot to be thankful for this time of year. One of those things is the state’s commitment to Continuity of Operations/Government (COOP/COG) planning. Such work ensures essential functions will continue to be performed and critical services provided in the event of a business disruption. In keeping with this commitment, the Commonwealth conducts its Annual Continuity Plan Review, or what it likes to call “COOPsgiving” each November.

This year is no exception, as all of the state agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction, including independent agencies, boards and commissions are now actively working to review and update their Continuity of Operations Plans within the platform. The platform, used by the Commonwealth since 2011, is the central resource for all COOP plan development and ongoing maintenance. In fact, it’s the planning solution of choice for over 10,000 organizational plans (continuity, emergency operations and hazard mitigation) across the country.

During COOPsgiving, Pennsylvania’s state agency continuity managers and continuity planners, aka “COOPers,” carefully consider all continuity plan elements, including contacts (people), facilities (primary and alternate), and vital records and resources (critical applications). They also review orders of succession, delegations of authority, and alert notification procedures; and upload any new or updated continuity-related documents into the platform’s file archive. There, the information is always accessible and easily shared for future testing, training and exercising, or more importantly, an actual business disruption.

New this year is the use of FEMA’s Continuity Assessment Tool (CAT), which provides an evaluation tool for non-federal entities to identify continuity program strengths and areas for improvement. CAT’s 10-point scoring system allows public and private sector organizations to demonstrate progress from one assessment to the next. This tool can be found online in FEMA’s Continuity Resource Toolkit.

November 27, 2019, marks the “cold turkey” cutoff date for Pennsylvania’s COOPers to finalize their Annual Continuity Plan Review with leadership and submit their updated plans for approval signatures and implementation.

“On behalf of everyone at BOLDplanning, happy COOPsgiving to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said company CEO, Rick Wimberly. “Your model for creating a culture of preparedness is exemplary, and if replicated, could benefit ‘COOPers’ nationwide.”