Maryland state agencies bolster COOP plans in wake of H1N1
The recent events surrounding the H1N1 virus demonstrated the necessity for preparing plans for continuing government operations and services during catastrophic events. Pandemic influenza has the potential of placing a tremendous strain on both state and local government workforces. In light of this threat, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley proposed a review and update of the Executive Agencies’ Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans to ensure that the state level was prepared for pandemic flu or any other threat.
In June 2009 the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Office of the Governor charged the Executive State Agencies with the task of developing COOP plans and Pandemic Influenza COOP annexes.
Throughout the summer and fall, CHHS assisted MEMA in coordinating the development of the Executive State Agencies’ COOP plans and Pandemic Influenza COOP annexes. CHHS provided two COOP training sessions for the executive agencies in June and July 2009; both were attended by numerous state officials and created a new COOP template for the state of Maryland. CHHS also met with individual executive agencies and officials to provide expertise for the development of the plans.
In early fall, CHHS led a state peer review committee comprised of various state agencies to review the initial drafts of the Executive Agencies’ COOP and Pandemic Influenza COOP plans and provide comments and feedback. CHHS is currently assisting the executive agencies with these new revisions and will be reviewing the final documents by the end of December 2009 for MEMA. The plans will eventually be the basis for the statewide COOP drill where all state agencies will be required to test their COOP plan.