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Continuity Resource Toolkit

This Continuity Resource Toolkit is designed to provide additional tools, templates, and resources to assist in implementing the concepts found within the Continuity Guidance Circular. Each section of the Toolkit aligns to the chapters of the CGC. FEMA will continue to build and distribute tools and information to assist federal and non-federal entities develop and maintain a successful continuity program and plan.

FEMA welcomes your input on the Continuity Resource Toolkit. Please contact fema-cgc@fema.dhs.gov to:

  • Provide suggestions on tools and resources that would address identified continuity gaps and needs; and
  • Offer best practices, case studies, or tools to share with other planners within the whole community.

Continuity Resource Toolkit

Foreword: A National Continuity Philosophy

This section of the CGC provides the foundation of continuity planning across the nation and the whole community. The Foreword outlines a vision for continuity, roles and responsibilities, and integration points across the whole community and with preparedness and emergency management.

Introduction, Vision and Purpose, and Continuity Planning:

  • Presidential Policy Directive-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, defines resilience as “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from operational disruptions.”
  • FEMA hosts two introductory Independent Study courses on continuity through the Emergency Management Institute. IS-546.a, Continuity of Operations Awareness, is a one-hour course designed to provide a general overview of continuity principles. IS-547.a, Introduction to Continuity of Operations, is a two-hour course designed to provide a more in-depth introduction to continuity planning.
  • UPDATED! FEMA has developed an updated Whole Community continuity brochure and Federal continuity brochure, which outlines important principles in continuity planning.
  • FEMA hosts a quarterly Continuity Webinar Series. The webinars address continuity-related topics and include presenters from varied backgrounds and experiences. The webinars are free and open to the public.  FEMA also maintains archives from previous webinars.  FEMA has also created a brochure providing overview information on the Webinar Series.
  • Sign up for the latest continuity news and information from FEMA.

Guiding Principles:

  • Presidental Policy Directive-8, National Preparedness, outlines the whole community approach to emergency management.  Continuity is an important part of preparedness.
  • The National Preparedness Goal states that continuity is an integral part of each core capability across the five mission areas of protection, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery within the National Preparedness System.
  • The National Incident Management System (NIMS), with the foundational support of continuity, enables the Nation to be able to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from any incident with minimal disruptions to the functions, core capabilities, and services that citizens expect. The Emergency Management Institute works in collaboration with the whole community to provide training in support of the NIMS Training Program.

Roles, Responsibilities, and Integration:

  • Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, outlines the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability by ensuring a coordinated effort within and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government at all levels. The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the CGC.
  • The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Interface with Other Concepts:

  • The National Response Framework outlines roles and responsibilities for incident management and operations.  Continuity does not delineate new procedures for incident management activities; however, organizations with incident management responsibilities must incorporate requirements to perform these functions into continuity planning.
  • The Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, is designed to assist planners develop Emergency Operations Plans.  Continuity planning enables the successful implementation of and EOP during and after an emergency, by ensuring essential functions, services, and visible leadership are readily available when normal operations are disrupted.

Chapter 1: Getting Started

This chapter identifies foundational elements of a continuity program that will increase the success of continuity planning and operations.

Guidance and Standards:

  • Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, outlines the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability by ensuring a coordinated effort within and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government at all levels.The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the CGC.
  • Federal Continuity Directive 1 implements requirements establishes the framework, requirements, and processes that support the development of continuity programs and by specifying and defining elements of a continuity plan for Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies.
  • Federal Continuity Directive 2 provides direction and guidance to Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies to assist in validation of Mission Essential Functions and Primary Mission Essential Functions. The update and validation of essential functions includes conducting a comprehensive Business Process Analysis to understand those processes necessary to the performance of organizational functions and requirements.
  • COMING SOON: Examples of state, municipal, and other non-federal continuity mandates and laws.

Initiating Planning:

  • The E/L/G 548, Continuity Manager's Course, is a three-day classroom course designed to provide continuity managers define continuity of operations, explain the benefits of developing a viable continuity program, identify the elements of a viable continuity program, and identify the processes, resources, and tasks necessary to implement and manage a successful continuity program.
  • The E/L/G 550, Continuity Planner's Course, is a three-day classroom course designed to provide information on key concepts and strategies for developing, implementing, and updating a continuity plan.
  • L 552, Continuity of Operations for Tribal Governments Course, is a two-day course that provides tribal representatives with an understanding of how to develop and implement a continuity of operations program to ensure continuity of community essential functions across a wide range of emergencies and events.
  • FEMA established the Continuity Excellence Series - Level I, Professional Continuity Practitioner, and Level II, Master Continuity Practitioner.  This effort is dedicated to enhancing the excellence in the development and implementation of continuity programs and emergency management.
  • UPDATED! FEMA has updated the continuity plan template and instructions (Word version / PDF version) for non-federal entities and community-based organizations to align with the Continuity Guidance Circular.  FEMA also has a template for federal agencies to provide a framework for creating a viable continuity plan by focusing on key continuity planning elements.
  • Ready.gov maintains information on business preparedness, including a Business Continuity Planning Suite.
  • The Continuity of Operations: What You Need To Know video introduces audiences to continuity of operations planning.  It addresses the importance of continuity to organizations, best practices of planning, considerations for the four phases of continuity, and immediate steps an organization and individuals can take to prepare for the next emergency.

Leadership Support:

  • The Leadership Buy-In Training Guide addresses the importance of senior leadership support for continuity and leadership’s continuity roles and responsibilities. The Guide was created develop strategies for gaining senior leadership support and address key discussion point to present to senior leadership.
  • The Gaining Senior Leadership Support for Continuity Guide Factsheet assists continuity managers in effectively conveying the importance of and need for a viable and executable continuity program that ensures the continued performance of an organization’s essential functions during a disruption.
  • The Stepping into Their Shoes: Gaining Leadership Buy-In for Continuity video introduces continuity managers to tools that imparts: 1) soft skills (leadership communications and understanding) and 2) tailored facts and available resources they need to feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to frame resonating conversations with senior leadership about continuity and its benefits.

Chapter 2: Building a Capability

This chapter aims to provide guidance and a framework for building a continuity foundation and capability that is coordinated with partners and stakeholders.

Step 1: Identify and Prioritize Essential Functions:

  • Federal Continuity Directive 2 provides direction and guidance to Federal Executive Branch Departments and Agencies to assist in validation of Mission Essential Functions and Primary Mission Essential Functions. The update and validation of essential functions includes conducting a comprehensive Business Process Analysis to understand those processes necessary to the performance of organizational functions and requirements. The document also includes Business Process Analysis and Business Impact Analysis worksheets. 
  • E/L 557, Mission Essential Function Workshop, is a two-day course that assists participants in identifying essential functions, conducting a business process analysis, and conducting a business impact analysis.
  • NEW!: The Continuity Risk Toolkit is a resource to support stakeholders in conducting risk analysis for their continuity programs.

  • Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. State, local, tribal, and territorial governments engage in hazard mitigation planning to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters, and develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future hazard events.

  • The Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment provides the factual basis for activities proposed in the strategy portion of a hazard mitigation plan. An effective risk assessment informs proposed actions by focusing attention and resources on the greatest risks.
  • The Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) is a four-step common risk assessment process that helps the whole community understand its risks and estimate capability requirements.
  • The Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 201, Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment Guide, outlines the four-step process for conducting a THIRA.
  • Developed by the DHS Risk Steering Committee, the purpose of the DHS Risk Lexicon is to establish and make available a comprehensive list of terms and meanings relevant to the practice of homeland security risk management and analysis.

Step 2: Identify Mitigation Options

  • The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires federal executive agencies to incorporate telework into continuity plans.
  • UPDATED! FEMA has updated the Continuity of Operations Telework Planning brochure, which outlines telework considerations in continuity planning.
  • The Telework Exercise Template is a tool to assist organizations in conducting a telework exercise to operate in a telework or socially-distanced environment and to determine actions to enhance current capabilities and better prepare for a pandemic influenza or continuity event. FEMA has also developed a Telework Player Handbook Template to serve as an example of an exercise player handbook for use when conducting a telework exercise.
  • IS-551, Devolution Planning, is a two-hour online course designed to provide students with the tools and practical knowledge necessary to develop an organization’s devolution plan and procedures.
  • The Devolution Planning Template provides a structure and recommended content for developing a devolution plan or annex.
  • Mutual aid agreements are a concept that falls under the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). Within NIMS, the National Mutual Aid System is built upon the integration of all types of mutual aid into a single system.

Step 3: Identify Key Elements

Step 4: Plan and Implement Options and Elements:

Chapter 3: Maintaining a Capability

This chapter aims to provide guidance and a framework for maintaining a viable continuity capability and maturing a continuity program and plan.

Testing, Training, and Exercising:

  • FEMA established the Continuity Excellence Series - Level I, Professional Continuity Practitioner (brochure), and Level II, Master Continuity Practitioner (brochure).  This effort is dedicated to enhancing the excellence in the development and implementation of continuity programs and emergency management.
  • The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) provides guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning.
  • E/L 547, Continuity Exercise Design Course, is a three-day course designed to provide participants with the tools and hands-on experience necessary to develop continuity exercises for their organization. This course begins by explaining the unique aspects of continuity exercise design. The course also provides instruction on how to develop a continuity exercise and allows participants to use what they learn to create continuity exercises in class.
  • In addition to the Continuity Exercise Design course, FEMA hosts multiple online and classroom courses for planning and conducting exercises, including IS-120.a, An Introduction to Exercises; IS-130, Exercise Evaluation and Improvment Planning; L 146, HSEEP Basic Course; and the Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP).
  • The Telework Exercise Template is a tool to assist organizations in conducting a telework exercise to operate in a telework or socially-distanced environment and to determine actions to enhance current capabilities and better prepare for a pandemic influenza or continuity event.  FEMA has also developed a Telework Player Handbook Template to serve as an example of an exercise player handbook for use when conducting a telework exercise.
  • FEMA holds several continuity workshops aimed to increase continuity preparedness against several threats:
    • IS-525, Guardian Accord is a four-hour online continuity terrorism workshop designed to increase continuity awareness, preparedness, planning and coordination between federal and non-federal entities.
    • IS-523, Resilient Accord - Exercising Continuity Plans for Cyber Incidents, is a three-hour online continuity cyber security workshop designed to increase continuity of operations awareness and discuss how to execute continuity operations during a cybersecurity event.
    • IS-520, Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenza, is a one-hour online course that introduces students to the characteristics of a pandemic influenza, the effects that a pandemic influenza can have on every facet of our society, and the steps organizations can take to minimize the effects of a pandemic. IS-522, Exercising Continuity Plans for Pandemics, is an eight-hour online course that covers fundamental continuity principles and processes but is focused on the special continuity requirements for pandemics.
  • The Continuity Evaluation Tool (CET) is designed to assess Federal Department and Agencies’ continuity plans, programs, and procedures; refine the assessment process and improve the level of continuity program documentation; and document elements of continuity as required in Federal Continuity Directives 1 and 2. To obtain an electronic copy of the CET version 8, send an email request to FEMA-NationalContinuity@fema.dhs.gov.
  • NEW: The Continuity Assessment Tool provides an evaluation tool for non-federal entities to identify continuity program strengths and areas for improvement.
  • The Non-Disaster Grants Management System (ND Grants) is a web-based system intended to provide FEMA and its stakeholders with a system that supports the grants management lifecycle.
  • The Multi-Year Strategic Plan Template contains an outline of a strategy and program management plan that can be used to sustain and improve an organization's continuity capability over a five year period.

Appendix 1: Authorities and References

Authorities:

Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended (6 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.).

National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. § 3042).

Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (5 U.S.C. § § 6501-6506).

Executive Order 12148, Federal Emergency Management, July 20, 1979, as amended.

Executive Order 13618, Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions, July 6, 2012.

Presidential Policy Directive-8, National Preparedness, March 30, 2011.

Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy, July 15, 2016. The National Continuity Policy is not available for dissemination, but the core principles and concepts are included within the Continuity Guidance Circular. 

Presidential Policy Directive-21, Critical Infrasturcture Security and Resilience, February 12, 2013.

References:

  1. Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2, November 2010.
  2. Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 2, Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Guide, Second Edition, August 2013.
  3. Federal Continuity Directive-1, Federal Executive Branch National Continuity Program and Requirements, January 2017.
  4. Federal Continuity Directive-2, Federal Executive Branch Mission Essential Functions and Candidate Mission Essential Functions Identificiation and Submission Process, July 2017.
  5. Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), April 2013.
  6. National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), October 2017.
  7. National Preparedness Goal, September 2015.
  8. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
  9. Privacy Act of 1974.

Appendix 4: Continuity Checklist

  • NEW!: Appendix 4 of the Continuity Guidance Circular provides a continuity planning checklist.
  • The Continuity Evaluation Tool (CET) is designed to assess Federal Department and Agencies’ continuity plans, programs, and procedures; refine the assessment process and improve the level of continuity program documentation; and document elements of continuity as required in Federal Continuity Directives 1 and 2. To obtain an electronic copy of the CET, send an email request to FEMA-NationalContinuity@fema.dhs.gov.
  • The Continuity Assessment Tool provides an evaluation tool for non-federal entities to identify continuity program strengths and areas for improvement.

 

Last Updated: 
10/03/2018 - 08:04