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26 ALTERNATE FACILITIES occur without warning, agencies are strongly advised to make every effort to pre-position, maintain, or provide for Another important element of a COOP plan is the desig- minimum essential equipment for continued operations of nation of alternate facilities or work sites and a relocation essential functions at the alternate operating facilities for a strategy. In some emergency scenarios, activation and execu- minimum of 30 days. tion of a COOP plan may not necessitate relocation to an alter- nate facility, i.e., the agency will not be forced to abandon the primary work site. However, should leaving the primary work Transportation Experience site be necessary, there is a three-step, time-phased process for relocation: (1) Alternate Facility Activation and Relocation; In identifying alternate facilities, transportation agencies (2) Alternate Facility Operations; and (3) Reconstitution and often use the following: COOP Termination: Facilities converted from an existing facility; Facilities leased from, borrowed from, or shared with Alternate Facility Activation and Relocation--The another agency; first step occurs in the first 12 hours after a disruption to Facilities newly built to serve as alternate facilities; and agency operations requiring abandonment of the pri- Other arrangements, including mobile command centers; mary facility. This step relies heavily upon communica- use of existing field offices; partnerships with local, tion, not only among the decision makers within the regional, or state agencies, or vendors and providers of transportation agency, but also between the agency and disaster recovery services. its vendors, who may be providing services to support the move to temporary quarters, and the public, who In previous research, members of the transportation com- may rely on the transportation system for evacuation, munity have expressed a range of opinions regarding the reuniting with children and loved ones, or to commute importance of alternate facilities. TMCs, which are perhaps to emergency facilities. Communication also occurs the most dependent on equipment located in a single facility, with local, regional, and state emergency response and typically express the greatest concern over the need for alter- management agencies, and, of course, with transporta- nate locations and redundant systems to perform their func- tion personnel. tions. Some rail transit agencies, which have operating con- Alternate Facility Operations--The second step trol centers to manage automatic train control systems, also involves the conduct of operations in an alternate work often place a high priority on alternate facilities and redun- site and lasts until senior leadership has declared an end dant systems. to the emergency. Generally, operations in the alternate Over the past 5 years, most alternate facilities that have facility are limited to only the essential functions of the been newly built or renovated from existing field locations agency. All alternate facilities are expected to have the were designed for TMCs and rail transit agencies to address capability to sustain essential functions for up to 30 days these concerns. These alternate facilities, with their support- or until normal operations can resume. ing redundant communications and information technology Reconstitution and COOP Termination--The third systems, are expensive, ranging from $200,000 to several step involves the return to regular agency facilities and million dollars, and are clearly beyond the financial capabil- resumption of normal agency operations. This step ities of all but the largest agencies. involves both the transition back to primary facilities State DOTs and some larger bus-only transit agencies, and re-integration of all personnel back into normal whose operations tend to be located in multiple facilities in operations. separate geographic areas, typically express less concern with the need for alternate facilities. For these agencies, in Alternate facilities or work sites are typically defined as many cases, disruption of service at one facility can be man- locations where the agency can carry out essential functions aged by another facility. For example, many state DOTs and when the primary facilities are inaccessible or made unusable larger transit agencies have multiple garages and redundant due to damage. Alternate facilities may be established for communications systems, as well as vehicle fleets stored at single facilities or functions. For example, vehicles normally multiple facilities and operations and maintenance personnel maintained at one garage may be handled at another garage reporting to multiple facilities. Of major concern to these owned by the agency. Mailroom functions may be re-located agencies, however, is the need for temporary work proce- to another floor or building owned by the agency. dures, which ensure that personnel know where to report and If an emergency forces a work area or an entire building how to perform their jobs under conditions of limited or no to be evacuated, key agency personnel can relocate to an communications. alternate work site or facility, which allows the agency to Alternate vehicle fleets are generally not available. Many carry out its essential functions and meet the needs of emer- agencies (e.g., rail transit and smaller bus transit agencies) gency response personnel. Because the need to relocate may store all vehicles in a single location. The concern is that it is

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27 difficult to predict the effects that emergencies requiring Ability to sustain essential functions for 30 days; COOP activation could have on these agencies. Some might Appropriate physical security and access controls; and have a significant part of the fleet out of the garage, and some Consideration for the health, safety, and emotional well- might have a significant part of the fleet garaged at the time being of relocated personnel and customers, i.e., ade- an emergency shuts off access. Some agencies may be able quacy of wash rooms, parking, accessibility for those to rely on school buses and vehicles from other transit agen- with disabilities, vending or food service availability, cies or commercial motor coaches to help support emergency rest facilities, etc. services needs. Access to fuel supplies and existing parts inventories is another concern, though many agencies plan for supplies and Categorization of Alternate Facilities inventories to cover between 1 and 2 weeks. How and where fuel pumps might be powered and accessed, relationships One system of categorization can be particularly helpful with alternate providers of fuel and parts, and the ability of for transportation agencies, especially if financial resources emergency parts and supply providers to reach the alternate are not available to create a fully functional alternate facility. facility are also of concern. Although concern exists over the Existing facilities can be identified as potential alternate ability to fuel and maintain vehicle fleets following a major work sites, so long as (1) the specific activities required to emergency, some transportation agencies can sustain some make it a fully functional location are identified and (2) a list level of service for several days after a disruption in supply, of emergency vendors that could bring the facility on line are provided they have fuel pump power. Some transportation agencies also have back-up power supplies, or emergency identified. Using this approach, alternate facilities can be generators, and most have priority status to receive electric- classified as hot sites, warm sites, and cold sites. ity once power is restored. Many transportation agencies operate at least 16 hours a Hot Site: A hot site is an alternate facility that already day; these agencies generally can be expected to have at least has in place the computer, telecommunications, and two shifts of trained and qualified management, maintenance, environmental infrastructure necessary to perform the operating, and supervisory personnel on which to draw to agency's essential functions. provide service. Some agencies have indicated a belief that Warm Site: A warm site is an alternate work site their agencies offer sufficient depth to survive the inaccessi- equipped with some hardware and communications bility or loss of some management, operations, and/or main- interfaces, as well as electrical and environmental con- tenance personnel. ditioning that can provide backup after additional soft- Some agencies believe that the distribution of their facili- ware or customization is performed and/or additional ties and their staffing plans during normal operations limit equipment is temporarily obtained. Data may or may their concern about the need for alternate facilities. All are not be duplicated and installed there. mindful of the need for protection of technology systems Cold Site: A cold site is an alternate facility that has in required to support service: communications, train control place the environmental infrastructure necessary to and traffic management systems, and personnel management recover essential functions or information systems, but systems. does not have pre-installed computer hardware, tele- Personnel management systems are perceived as particu- communications equipment, etc. Arrangements for com- larly important, because employee records, payroll, insur- puter and telecommunications support would be made ance, and other vital documents are often now highly auto- at the time of the move to the cold site. mated and could be subject to interruption, loss, or corruption depending on the type of emergency experienced. Another option for an alternate work site is a pre-existing Whatever its size, service area, and operational require- facility already in use by the agency. For instance, a tornado ment, transportation agencies typically require that the fol- may destroy one of the agency spaces, but leave another lowing factors be addressed in identifying and selecting alter- nate facilities and work sites: building or work area untouched. Those agencies with mul- tiple facilities may find it easier to move into buildings or Immediate capability to perform essential functions work areas not damaged. under various threat conditions; Often, because of fiscal constraints, operating and main- Sufficient space and equipment to sustain the relocating taining a separate, alternate work site is not within the means agency; of a transportation agency. In this case, many agencies enter Ability to communicate with all identified important into cooperative or mutual aid agreements and use virtual internal and external agencies, customers, and the public; office technologies. With a cooperative agreement, an agency Reliable logistical support, services, and infrastructure can contract for use of another agency's facility in an emer- systems, including water, electrical power, heating and gency; or the arrangement can be less formal as in a mutual air conditioning, etc.; aid agreement:

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28 Cooperative Agreement: Any formal, legally binding The COOP team should consider the following questions contract between two or more parties where the parties when selecting alternate facilities and work sites: agree to share an alternate facility. Mutual Aid Agreement: The pre-arranged sharing Did you select an area where the ability to initiate, main- of services (human or material resources) when vital tain, and terminate operations will not be disrupted or resources are not available to either party. Equipment, affected by the same or similar event that the primary shelter, or personnel needs may be predetermined for a site experienced? particular type of emergency or determined at the time Did you consider using existing field facilities, a virtual of the request in consideration of available resources. environment, or joint or shared space? What is your immediate capability to perform essential Several agencies may also opt to contract jointly with an functions under various threat conditions (e.g., threats outside vendor for use of an emergency facility. A word of involving weapons of mass destruction)? caution is in order here. In making these agreements, it is Can the facility be operational within 12 hours after highly desirable to assess whether the potential cooperative/ activation? Can you sustain operations for 30 days or mutual aid partner has similar agreements with other agen- longer? cies in place and whether these might conflict with the agree- Did you perform a risk analysis of this alternate facility? ment at hand. A large-scale disaster could affect many agen- Did you consider all possible scenarios for COOP cies that have contracted with each other or for use of the relocation (e.g., fire, flooding, and potential threats of same space in an emergency. terrorism)? To identify alternate facilities, the transportation agency can Did you consider the distance from the threat area of any complete Worksheet 18. Using this worksheet, the COOP other facilities/locations such as hazardous materials/ team can identify the work site needs of the agency by essen- areas susceptible to natural disasters or likely focuses of tial function. civil unrest? To develop options for alternate facilities, use Worksheet How many shifts and how many COOP team members 19. Current facilities owned or used by the agency are nor- per shift will be required to accomplish essential func- mally considered first as options for alternate work sites. tions from the facility? These are good candidates for hot, warm, or at least cold What is the minimum amount of space these COOP sites. If an agency does not have suitable additional facilities team members need to accomplish their functions under or none of those are deemed appropriate as potential sites, the emergency conditions? COOP team might consider entering into a mutual aid agree- Do you have reliable logistical support, services, and ment with another agency to use their facilities or an agree- infrastructure systems, including water, electric power, ment to share an alternate work site. Mutual aid agreements heating and air conditioning, etc.? can be made for hot, warm, or cold sites. Do you have access to important resources such as food, The alternate facility may represent a series of locations water, fuel, and medical facilities? based on the phase of the emergency and the number of per- If the alternate facility is located at a distance from the sonnel assigned to the location. During the very early stages primary site, did you develop plans to address housing of COOP activation, the alternate facility may support only for emergency staff (billeting within facility or local a small number of the transportation agency's personnel. motels)? During the first few days of COOP activation, the alternate How will you handle housekeeping requirements, includ- facility may support more of an agency's personnel. As the ing supplies? transportation agency brings more functions and services Have you thought about your transportation require- back on line, partial use of other facilities, temporary work ments to the facility for COOP team personnel? orders, or sequences scheduling of activities may have to Does cellular phone coverage limit the facility from occur to accommodate more personnel, vehicles, and equip- consideration? ment. Whatever facilities are ultimately selected, they are What are the equipment and furniture requirements for expected to be capable of the flexibility for supporting oper- the facility? ations in a standard 8-hour, 12-hour, or 24/7 environment Have you determined the power requirements for the based on the emergency and leadership decisions. facility? Finally, it is important for the transportation agency to Have you identified backup power to the facility? develop a process for assessing whether the potential alter- Have you identified your interoperable communications nate work site may be susceptible to some risk, such as flood- requirements? ing or potential inaccessibility because of repairs or traffic Is the alternate facility outside the communications and control plans. If the potential alternate site is in an area that data grid of the primary facility? faces some elevated risk of physical damage, it may not be Do you have sufficient telecommunication lines and an ideal alternate work site. data lines?