Sept is National Preparedness Month – The third week of national preparedness month is for Hurricanes, but in Arkansas we find Tornadoes hit a little closer to home. http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes
What is COOP?
Continuity of Operations (COOP) is the effort within individual agencies to ensure they can continue to perform their mission essential functions during a wide range of emergencies. It’s the initiative that ensures that governments, departments, businesses and agencies are able to continue their essential daily functions. COOP requires planning for any event – natural, man-made, technological threats and national security emergency – causing an agency to relocate its operations to an alternate or other continuity site to assure continuance of its essential functions.
COOP is simply good business practice. COOP Plans address orders of succession, delegations of authority, continuity facilities, continuity communications, essential records management, human resources, testing, training, exercising, devolution, and reconstitution. FEMA offers guidance to non-federal entities here: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/org/ncp/coop/continuity_guidance_circular.pdf.
ADEM works with the Arkansas Department of Information Systems (DIS) to further the COOP initiative in Arkansas. Since 2004, DIS has administered the Arkansas Continuity of Operations Program (ACOOP). ACOOP provides a methodology, hardware, software, training, and user assistance for the development, maintenance and testing of all-hazards plans for Arkansas agencies, boards and commissions. The ACOOP Program continues to welcome new organizations and planners from across Arkansas. Courses which provide an introduction to COOP planning and the software tool are held regularly in Little Rock, as well as various locations across the State. The Program will also review your plan, by request, based on the state requirements. Additionally, the Program can assist in the testing and exercising of your organization’s COOP plan by facilitating table top exercises.
If you are interested in ACOOP training or you’d like more information about ACOOP, please visit http://www.dis.arkansas.gov/security/Pages/ContinuityofOperationsProgram.aspx.
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.