Key Definitions

  • Delegation of Authority: Certain tasks that are assigned in anticipation of a COOP event from one employee to another.
  • Devolution: The process of continuing essential functions only (worst-case scenario planning).
  • Key Personnel: Personnel that perform essential functions and/or critical processes.
  • Orders of Succession: Planning to fill a vacant position with an employee who can perform the psotion's tasks.
  • Reconstitution: Returning to normal operations.
  • Recovery Time: How soon functions, equipment, personnel, etc. can be up and running.
  • Vital Records: Records essential to the protection of the legal and financial rights of an agency and of individuals directly affected by the agency's activities.

Additional Resources

Continuity of Operations & Continuity of Government

During a disaster or unplanned event an entity’s ability to perform essential functions may be significantly impacted. In the event of disruption, government agencies strive to maintain operations during a forecasted threat and return to full functionality as quickly as possible by implementing a prepared Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The COOP plan should outline general guidance for altered operational procedures, personnel policies, and sustainment of essential functions. The document will provide an entity with guidance on how to utilize services and identify support necessary to keep their organization running during and after an emergency or disaster.

Elements of a COOP Plan

A comprehensive COOP will integrate the following elements:

  1. Essential Functions
  2. Human Capital/Key Personnel
  3. Delegations of Authority and Orders of Succession
  4. Communications
  5. Vital Records, Databases, Systems, and Equipment
  6. Alternate Facilities
  7. Reconstitution and Devolution
  8. Training, Exercise, and Evaluation Program of COOP Plan

For more information on developing a COOP plan visit FEMA's Continuity of Operations site.