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Emergency Planning: Continuity of Operations

coop conference

In 2006, OEM established the first-ever formalized City of New York Continuity of Operations Program (COOP). The mission of this initiative is to enhance the ability of City agencies to provide vital services to the public during emergencies, while maintaining internal resiliency.

With the success of a pilot program consisting of three agencies, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order 107 in 2007 requiring City agencies to develop standardized COOP plans by December 2009. OEM, in partnership with the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) worked with the participating City agencies in achieving this goal.

The NYC COOP has grown over time to include 40 additional agencies, the establishment of agency COOP planning teams, customization of continuity software for agencies to design plans, and an intranet portal for agency COOP administrators to gather resources, ask questions, and download planning materials. As the managers of the NYC COOP, OEM continues to provide guidance to agencies in developing continuity planning strategies and exercising plans. While each agency team has its own plan to maintain essential services, COOP standards, formatting, and language is uniform.

Development of the City's COOP involved five elements:

  • The pilot program assessed the critical functions and operational requirements of selected agencies. OEM and DOITT studied three agencies and collaboratively developed COOP plans for each agency.
  • OEM and its COOP partners used knowledge of industry practices and City specifications to develop a COOP planning methodology to address City agencies' needs.
  • OEM and partner organizations configured commercial software for the City’s intranet. The software provides electronic tools for creating COOP plans. To accompany the software, COOP planners at OEM generated a guide to lead City agencies through the COOP methodology and the commercial software.
  • Software administrators continue to run a series of training programs to demonstrate how to use the software to tailor the methodology to each agency’s specific needs.
  • Agencies maintain their own continuity plans, but OEM continues to provide support for continuity planning strategies, trainings, and exercises.

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