CHHS Begins Continuity of Operations Planning in Dallas
The University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), a non-profit consulting and academic group, recently kicked off a project to support Continuity of Operations planning for the city of Dallas, Texas. Under the year-long effort, CHHS is a subcontractor to Tidal Basin Government Consulting.
Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning enables an organization to preserve, maintain, and reconstitute its most essential functions following a natural or man-made disaster that disrupts operations. In Dallas, CHHS experts will develop an all-hazards COOP plan by conducting interviews with nearly 50 City departments, ascertaining essential functions of each. The plan, once implemented, will help the City continue critical functions for up to 30 days following an emergency.
One of the Center’s signature services, past COOP clients have included the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, all cabinet level agencies in the state of Maryland, as well as local organizations from the District of Columbia. CHHS was also a pioneer in adapting federal guidance regarding continuity planning for state and local government use – in 2005 the Center was awarded the first in a series of grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Training and Exercise Division to develop and offer the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-certified course Preparing the States: Implementing Continuity of Operations Planning. CHHS trained more than 100 jurisdictions from Maryland to Guam before federal funding ended in 2013, and continues to offer similar courses to interested clients.
CHHS staff will also participate in a full-scale exercise, scheduled for later this summer, to test the finalized COOP plan during a mock disaster scenario.