The Importance of a Continuity of Operations Plan


Courtesy of Witt O`Brien`s, LLC.

An Inside Look at the Counties and State of Hawaii

O’Brien’s began its relationship with the City and County of Honolulu as the primary consultant providing pandemic preparedness and planning services for an inter-agency collaboration comprised of the State of Hawai’i, the City and County of Honolulu, the County of Hawai’i, the County of Kaua’i and the County of Maui. Funded by the City and County of Honolulu through the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant (RCPG), O’Brien’s became a trusted advisor and planning consultant to these stakeholder agencies. In this role, and through continued funding under the RCPG, O’Brien’s was tasked to provide Continuity of Operations (COOP)/Continuity of Government (COG) plans for all governmental agencies at the state and county levels within Hawai’i.

Understanding the Problem
During a major crisis, whether a man-made or natural disaster, functioning regional governments are a key to effective response and recovery efforts. Governments must be equipped with a preparedness strategy that not only takes into account response efforts, but also details a plan to sustain operational integrity and government protocols.
This level of preparedness promotes resilience in the aftermath of an event. Should government departments experience a significant emergency incident that impedes their normal operations, these COOP/COG plans provide needed guidance, such as:

  • Instructions for reporting to predetermined alternate work locations.
  • Identification of essential functions.
  • Establishment of a hierarchy for recovery.
  • Determination of critical staff and what vital support they need to continue mission essential functions.

During ongoing pandemic influenza preparedness planning efforts, O’Brien’s determined that Hawaii’s county and state governments did not have adequate plans in place detailing how governmental departments would continue to perform essential functions given high levels of absenteeism, or more inclusively, after any disruptive incident.

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