College of Southern Maryland COOP Planning and Exercise

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CHHS is committed to helping Maryland colleges and universities be better prepared for man-made and natural disasters. In 2014-2015, Senior Law and Policy Analysts Preeti Emrick and Avery Blank led the development of a comprehensive Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan for the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). CSM is a regionally-accredited community college, delivering higher-education programs in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties in Maryland.

Throughout the fall of 2014, CHHS assisted CSM in developing college-wide, as well as departmental-specific, COOP plans. CHHS coordinated stakeholder meetings with the President’s Council and departmental heads and then met with each department individually to develop a better understanding of the college’s innermost workings.

Additionally, CHHS worked hand-in-hand with CSM leadership to craft a customized tabletop exercise scenario that would test the COOP plans and the roles and responsibilities of CSM staff during an emergency. To test the notification, response, and recovery phases of a disaster, the scenario focused on a flu outbreak and winter snow storm, both of which routinely occur in Maryland. The exercise proved a success with a high level of engagement from CSM stakeholders and college leadership.

Shortly thereafter, CHHS delivered the final COOP plans along with an After-Action Report (AAR) from the exercise. The AAR captured strengths, areas for improvement, and recommendations. In combination with the AAR, CHHS provided CSM with a template to begin their improvement plan as part of their ongoing emergency preparedness efforts.

This text is taken from the CHHS Spring 2015 Newsletter

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