Catastrophic weather. Devastating cyberattacks. Unthinkable human-made disasters. The world isn’t getting any less risky (perhaps even more so). For these reasons and many others, organizations must know how to respond to such critical events and maintain essential functions. This is best accomplished using a well-developed, fully executable continuity of operations plan (COOP).

COOPs, as you know, address two primary questions:  

  1. Which functions are essential to the organization or central to its constituents, clients, partners, or other parties? 
  2. What resources are required to continue those essential functions during an emergency or disruption?  

Regardless of the size of an organization and the participating number of agencies or departments, all COOPs share certain elements. These include:

  • Essential functions (as just mentioned)
  • Delegations of authority
  • Succession planning
  • Alternate facilities
  • Interoperable communications
  • Vital records and databases
  • Human capital
  • A test, training, and exercise program
  • Plans for devolution and reconstitution

Together, and according to FEMA guidelines, these elements give a COOP a reasonable chance of succeeding—or viability.