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33 emergency. Agency personnel need to have access to and be identify restoration and recovery resources for non-electronic able to use these records and systems in conducting their records. Worksheet 28 addresses this process. essential functions. COOP planning for vital records includes assessing any vital records programs in place at the transportation agency Systems and Equipment Supporting Essential Functions and improving or developing a program to provide for the optimal protection, duplication, and preservation of records. A system or piece of equipment is vital if it is required to This maintenance program, as well as procedures for the perform emergency operations and/or to the agency's con- recovery and restoration of records, forms the basis of a vital tinuance of critical processes and services during an emer- records program. The vital records delineation should be gency for a minimum of 30 days. COOP planning for vital broadly defined to also include safes and keys, for example, systems and equipment proceeds in the same way as plan- that secure vital records. ning for vital records. The first step is to identify vital sys- The key to identifying vital records is looking to the tems and equipment and the second step is to select and agency's essential functions and their supporting critical arrange protection methods for vital systems and equipment. processes and services. In Worksheet 15, the COOP team Many of the critical processes supporting essential agency identified the records needed to perform essential functions. functions include or consist entirely of IT systems and appli- With that worksheet, determine those records necessary for cations. IT is defined as systems and applications, generally emergency operations and/or the recovery or the continua- computer-based, that assist in the collection, storage, analy- tion of agency essential functions for up to 30 days and list sis, and communication or transfer of data and information them in Worksheet 27. Also indicate whether these records to other systems and/or individuals. For this reason, the IT are time-critical, i.e., how soon after disruption are they component of any agency plays a vital role in COOP plan- expected to be needed. Time criticality is an essential com- ning. The IT department is not ultimately responsible for ponent of the issue of secure, off-site storage, for example. developing COOP plans. COOP planning is the responsibil- Identifying vital records is somewhat like identifying ity of the agency head and the designated COOP leader and agency essential functions. The agency may perform many COOP team, not of the agency's IT department. Representa- functions, but not all are essential. The same can be said tion from the IT department is necessary from the start on the about records; all may be important, but not all are essential. COOP team, because IT department knowledge of system Only a small percentage of the agency records are vital, i.e., capabilities will be helpful in actual preparation of the plan. essential to emergency operations and to the agency's con- The IT department is a resource, a valued planning partner, tinuance or difficult or impossible to replace. and an important element in recovery planning. Vital records may be in any format or medium. Original records are not necessary. It is the information, not the medium that is most important. If the information is contained in a INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS medium other than paper, the technology required to access the information and the availability of that technology in an Communications is a critical component of a successful emergency must be considered. For example, if the record is transportation agency COOP capability. Interoperable com- on microfilm only, the COOP plan can include provision of munications systems support connectivity to internal agen- film readers in an emergency. To document vital records for cies, other agencies, critical customers, and the public. COOP planning, complete Worksheet 27. Goals for communications planning typically include the Because vital records are often part of vital systems and following: equipment, a single disaster recovery plan often addresses both records and systems/equipment. The information tech- Capability commensurate with agency's essential func- nology (IT) department is advised to have a disaster recov- tions and activities; ery plan in place for IT systems and equipment. Some agen- Ability to communicate with the COOP team, manage- cies may find that any COOP planning requires close work ment, and other agency components; and with the IT department throughout the process. Ability to communicate with external agencies, emer- If the accessibility of vital records is unlikely to be possi- gency personnel, vendors, and the public. ble in emergencies involving, for instance, a regional black- out, it is desirable for the IT disaster recovery plan to include When determining interoperable communications require- provision for regular, periodic, hardcopy printing of the data, ments for an emergency situation, transportation agencies are or other alternative solutions. advised to consider services such as the following: Ideally, the COOP team should consult with IT staff for assistance in COOP planning for recovery of vital electronic Voice lines; records. Additionally, the IT disaster recovery plan should Fax lines; support essential agency functions. COOP teams also should Data lines;

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34 Cellular phones; to those communication systems that support essential func- Pagers; tions, both at the primary and alternate work sites. Examples Email; of preventive controls include the following: Internet access; Instant messenger services; Tested uninterruptible power supplies to provide short- Personal digital assistants (PDAs); term backup power to system components; Radio communication systems; Air-conditioning systems with adequate excess capacity Satellite communication systems; that, despite failure of certain components, allow con- Local, regional, state, and federal emergency telephone tinued functioning of the entire system; services; and Fire and smoke detectors; Other means of communication used by the agency (e.g., Water sensors in the ceiling and floor for computer and in-person; specialized systems, etc.). telecommunications rooms; Gasoline- or diesel-powered generators to provide long- Interoperable communications planning for COOP capabili- term backup power tested and checked to ensure fuel is ties typically involve three activities: not too old to be used; Fire suppression systems; Assessing those communications systems supporting Emergency master system shutdown switch; each essential function, Technical security controls; and Identifying controls that could prevent interruption of Regular training for personnel on how to operate all fea- primary communication channels, and tures and the manual overrides and necessary tools and Identifying alternative modes of communication in case locations of tools. the primary modes are not available. Ideally, an agency should assess those preventive controls Each of these activities is discussed below. Critical COOP that are best for each mode of communication and then com- activities, such as notification, situation assessment, and inter- pare those controls to the protective measures now in place nal and external agency coordination during emergencies at both the primary work site(s) and at any alternate work ALL require a communications infrastructure. sites. To identify preventive controls, it is advisable that the agency complete Worksheet 30. Assessing Communication Systems Supporting Essential Functions Identifying Alternative Modes of Communication As with previous tasks, the key to identifying interoperable communications systems is reviewing the critical processes When preventive controls fail, it is advisable that an agency and services that support the agency's essential functions. In have alternative providers and/or modes of communication in most transportation agencies today, business is conducted pri- place to fill the gap. This can be handled by having a separate marily through telecommunications. emergency communication system set up or by using commu- Telecommunications include digital, electronic, or auto- nications systems already in place. For example, cellular mated systems used in transmitting messages between remote phones could be an alternative to land-based voice lines. locations. Examples include telephone (both land lines and Some service providers offer special services for emergen- cellular), facsimile, cable, radio, television, email, and inter- cies, such as telecommunications services priority (TSP). net service. These telecommunications systems generally This service gives a transportation agency's telecommunica- support an entire transportation agency and typically are not tions circuit priority, allowing communications to get through specific to a particular function or organizational unit. when all circuits are busy. Each transportation agency can To identify these systems, use Worksheet 29. In complet- check with its providers for information on any emergency ing this worksheet, be sure to identify ALL systems that sup- communications services. port communications, however antiquated or advanced. To document alternate modes of communication, the trans- portation agency can complete Worksheet 31. This worksheet Identifying Preventive Controls provides space to list any available emergency services. Con- sider also providing radios, satellite phones or other special Preventive controls attempt to avoid the occurrence of communication devices to COOP team members for use in an unwanted disruptions such as data loss through power outages emergency. Consider, too, access to the Government Emer- and equipment malfunction and destruction. As with vital gency Telecommunications Service (GETS) for priority voice records, preventive controls are necessary in mitigating risks and data transmission lines.