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Continuity of Operations Plan

A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) explains how critical operations that must be performed, or rapidly and efficiently resumed, in an emergency will be performed or resumed.

A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) provides policy and guidance for personnel of a specific agency or specific organization to ensure that critical operations are continued in the event of an emergency or threat of an emergency.

As a baseline of preparedness for the full range of potential emergencies, all U.S. Federal agencies are required to establish and maintain a viable Continuity of Operations Plan capability, which ensures the performance of their essential functions during any emergency, or situation that may disrupt normal operations. A viable Continuity of Operations Plan capability identifies essential functions and consists of plans and procedures, alternate facilities, and alternate interoperable communications and data support systems, reinforced by comprehensive training, orientation, and training exercise programs. Continuity of Operations Plan capabilities must be maintained at a high level of readiness, be capable of being activated both with and without warning, achieve operational status no later than 12 hours after activation, and maintain sustained operations for up to 30 days or until termination.

Continuity of Operations planning objectives include the following:

a) Ensure the safety of personnel and visitors;
b) Provide for the ability to continue essential services (including conducting activities from a remote location, if necessary);
c) Provide for the protection of critical equipment, records and other assets;
d) Maintain efforts to minimize environmental impacts; and
e) Provide for an orderly response, recovery and mitigation from any incident.

Continuity of Operations planning is the promulgation of contingency plans, processes, and procedures to facilitate the performance of department/agency essential functions during any emergency situation that may disrupt normal operations.

Effective continuity planning establishes delineation of essential functions; specifies succession to office and the emergency delegation of authority; provides for the safekeeping of vital records and databases; identify alternate facilities; provides for interoperable communications; and validates this capability through tests, training, and exercise.

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