Continuity Planning

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Continuity Planning

State Agency Continuity Planning Maintenance Program

Cal OES announces a new maintenance program initiative in the updated Continuity Guidance. Continuity plans and programs are dynamic and require regular updating to reflect any changes in the organization (e.g., staffing, structure, functions, equipment, communications, leadership, and resources). In order to ensure that departments/agencies are maintaining a baseline of capability in all the key planning element areas, a Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist has been created and included in the Continuity Planning Guide. The Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist is a self-certification that an agency has developed and is maintaining a continuity plan that reflects the most current state and federal continuity planning standards and best practices. The Checklist documents the organization’s Continuity Program and Plan status. 

Beginning in 2010, the Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist is to be completed by the agency’s continuity planning team and signed by the secretary/director. The Continuity Plan Approvals page is used to indicate that the organization's senior level officials have read the Continuity Plan and understand their roles and responsibilities should the organization's business essential functions be disrupted.  The Checklist should then be mailed to CAL OES according to the Continuity Planning Guidance Document.  Schedule for submission is contained within the guidance and provided for quick reference below.  If there are agencies that are not listed on the  Schedule, please contact Cal OES at (916) 845-8777.

Schedule for Submission of the Continuity Plan.14.pdf

Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist 5.14.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions.pdf

Updated State Continuity Program Guidance
The updated California Continuity Planning Guidance and Plan Template (December 2009) provides direction to the State executive branch agencies for developing continuity plans and programs. Continuity planning facilitates the performance of executive branch essential functions during all-hazards emergencies or other situations that may disrupt normal operations.

The ultimate goal of Continuity Planning is to ensure that the State of California is able to continue its vital governmental services and operations under all conditions. For this to take place, state agencies must have plans in place to carry out their departmental essential functions without interruption.

The Governor, through Executive Order S-04-06, expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Executive Branch agencies and departments are ready to respond and recover from natural and man-made incidents. Based on the Executive Order’s reference to “update COOP/COG Plans,” the ongoing expectation is that State agencies/departments will continue to maintain their plans. As a result, Cal OES offers guidance and tools to enable executive branch agencies / departments to enhance and maintain their continuity plans.

The planning resources and tools included in this program can be used whether an organization is starting from the very beginning of the planning process or merely updating plans already in place. However, Executive Order S-04-06 requires that the plans developed or updated by state agencies and departments be consistent with the guidelines promulgated by CAL OES.

A letter dated December 14, 2009 was sent to Agency Secretaries announcing the availability of the revised Continuity Guidelines. A copy of this letter is also attached below.

Agency Secretary Letterhead Continuity Guidance Update 2013.pdf

Cal OES COOP Guide Template Revision 1Sep2013_V5a.pdf

This Incident Command System (ICS) planning process helps establish Management by Objective (MBO) and operational priorities.  This process becomes the roadmap for implementation by addressing five critical elements in re-establishing essential business functions within 12 hours of activation.

Achieve a proactive response by providing a decision making process for the Senior Activation Team (SAT) in establishing an Action Plan within the first 4 hours.

The Planning "P" illustrates the incident planning process for the initial operational period and/or related continuity phases:

  1. Readiness and Preparedness
  2. Activation and Relocation
  3. Continuity Operations
  4. Reconstitution and Recovery

 Plannnig P.png
SAT Action Planning (P) cycle.pdf

OVERVIEW -- Changes to the State and Federal Continuity Programs


Cal OES's Statewide Continuity Initiative Survey is designed to help develop future continuity programs throughout California.

Cal OES is seeking feedback from your agency or department regarding your continuity training and exercise needs, as well as general information regarding your continuity plan.  Therefore, we are asking Continuity Managers, Emergency Planners, and/or other appropriate management to complete a short continuity survey located at the following link:

Most of the significant changes in the State Continuity Program are due to the incorporation of new emphases and concepts from the revised federal continuity guidelines. They include the following:

• Historically, the federal government defined continuity efforts using the terms “COOP” and “COG.” These were often separate and compartmentalized activities. This old organizational framework has changed and the new emphasis is reflected throughout the updated California Continuity Planning Guide. As recommended in the updated federal continuity directives, California now uses the reference to “Continuity Planning” as an overlapping integration of continuity of operations and continuity of government concepts.

• Risk Management, as an essential tool in continuity planning, has been incorporated. In the face of multiple and diverse catastrophic possibilities, it is accepted that risk-a function of threats, vulnerabilities, consequences-is a permanent condition. Applying a disciplined approach to managing risk will help to achieve best progress, long term success, and overall effectiveness and efficiency.

• Changes in terminology include: the use of “Continuity Facilities” instead of “Alternate Operating Facilities”, and “Continuity Communications” rather than “Interoperable Communications.”

• The creation of a “continuity readiness posture” is promoted, similar to the federal executive branch’s Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) system that establishes readiness levels in order to provide a flexible and coordinated response to escalating threat levels or actual emergencies.

• An additional phase is added to the previously described continuity operational phases. The phases are now: readiness and preparedness (new), activation and relocation, continuity operations, and reconstitution.

The other changes in the updated Guide include:

◦Lists of State Continuity Objectives and State Essential Functions (SEF).
◦Recommendations for addressing the similar planning requirements of Continuity Planning and Technology Recovery Planning (TRP), formerly known as Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
◦A discussion of the similarities between government and business models of continuity.
◦An introduction of the new Continuity Planning Self-Certification Program (explained below), which promotes the regular update of state agency Continuity Plans. 

CONTINUITY TRAINING COURSES – Watch for Continuity Program Training Opportunities
It is essential that a Continuity Training, Testing and Exercise Program be developed, implemented and maintained to ensure the integrity of the various emergency planning documents included in the agency Continuity Program. A training strategy should be developed which addresses five critical questions:

1. Who should be trained?
2. What tasks should they be trained to perform?
3. Which training instruction/delivery methods should be utilized to maximize success?
4. What methods are most capable of evaluating competency and performance upon completion of the training?
5. How will gaps in knowledge and application be identified, documented and remedied in future training opportunities?

Cal OES will post various types of training opportunities on this web page. In addition, there are a number of independent study courses online that provide training in continuity program basics.

◦NPD Online Course Catalog Search (OCC) - Used in the development of Continuity Multi-Year T&E Programs:
◦Continuity Awareness (IS-546.a) 2 Hours–
◦Introduction to Continuity (IS-547a) 5 Hours–
COOP Program Manager (IS-548) 4 Hours--
◦Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas (IS-520) 1 Hour –

How does pandemic planning differ from traditional continuity planning?

Pandemic influenza demands an additional set of Continuity planning considerations. Unlike traditional Continuity planning, pandemic influenza may be widely dispersed geographically and will potentially arrive in waves that could last several months at a time. While a pandemic will not directly damage facilities, power lines, banks or computer networks, it will ultimately threaten all critical infrastructure by removing essential personnel from the workplace for weeks or months. This makes a pandemic a unique circumstance necessitating a strategy that extends well beyond the public health and medical considerations, to include the sustainment of critical infrastructure, private-sector activities, the movement of goods and services across the nation and the globe, and economic and security considerations.

State agencies are encouraged to develop an annex to their existing Continuity plans that adequately address issues such as increased absenteeism, social distancing procedures, and impacts on interdependencies. The resources below are some of the best examples for guiding an organization in developing and formalizing a strategy for responding to a public health emergency.

• FEMA Pandemic Influenza Continuity Annex Template Instructions

• Key Elements of Departmental Pandemic Influenza Operational Plans

• Pandemic Influenza Continuity Considerations Checklist

• Continuity of Operations for Pandemic Influenza Brochure

• Doing Business during an Influenza Pandemic (A Toolkit for Organizations of All Sizes)

• Preparing for the Flu: Communication Toolkit for Businesses and Employers

• H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit Briefing

CONTACT US -- Continuity Planning Program Assistance
As the State Continuity Program continues to evolve, additional development tools and aids will be added to the website. Training courses will also be posted as they come available.
Questions concerning the Continuity Planning can be directed to Cal OES at the following email address:


FEMA Continuity Assistance Tool

Continuity Planning Program Description
Word Version
Continuity Planning Guidance and Plan Template
Word Version
Continuity Planning Worksheets 
Word Version
Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist
Word Version
Continuity Discussion Papers 
Executive Command and Control Issues (word version)
Business Impact Analysis/Assessments (word version)
Rating and Prioritizing an Organization’s Functions for Continuity Planning (word version)
Analyzing Risks for Continuity Planning: Linking Threats to Disruption Scenarios  (word version)
Continuity: A Consolidated Approach (word version)
Continuity and Pandemic Influenza Planning (word version)
Other Continuity Program Information
Continuity Glossary (word version)
Continuity Acronyms  (word version)


Continuity Planning Information and Resources
Executive Order S-04-06$file/EOS0406.pdf

Continuity Planning Guidelines and Templates
Continuity Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Continuity Guidance Circular 1

Continuity Assistance Tool (CAT) for Non-Federal Entities

Federal Continuity Directive-1

Federal Continuity Directive-2

FEMA Continuity Evaluation Tool (CET) - Version 7

National Security (NSPD 51) and Homeland Security (HSPD-20) Presidential Directive

National Continuity Policy Implementation Plan

 Continuity Plan Template for Federal and Non-Federal Entities
  Continuity of Operations Plan Template and Instructions for Federal Departments and Agencies
 Continuity Plan Template and Instructions for Non-Federal Entities

FEMA COOP Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Template (MYSPMP)

FEMA COOP Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Plan Template Guide (MYSPMP)

FEMA COOP Multi-Year Strategy Budget

FEMA COOP Vital Records PPT

FEMA COG Guidance/CPG 1-10

FEMA Devolution of Operations Plan Template
  Reconstitution Plan/Annex Template and Instructions

  Key Elements of Departmental Pandemic Influenza Operational Plans
(Meta Checklist)

Disaster Recovery Planning
California Office of Information Security

Agency Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery Plan Documentation for Agencies Instructions (Formerly ORP)

Business Continuity Planning Models
Business Continuity Planning Model

DRI International

Business Continuity Institute

Ready Business