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37 CHAPTER 8 TRAINING, TESTING, AND UPDATING (TASKS 6, 7, AND 8) TRAINING PERSONNEL AND TESTING tion. Periodic testing also ensures that equipment and proce- THE PLAN dures are maintained in a constant state of readiness. Fur- thermore, testing helps agency personnel understand what If an agency is to have an effective COOP plan, agency will happen once an evacuation of their normal operating personnel need to have more than a general awareness of facilities occurs and what steps will be taken to implement COOP requirements. Each individual plays an important part the COOP plan. in the agency's COOP readiness, and each division needs to Tests, training, and exercise plans are most effective when know how to execute its portion of the COOP plan and how they provide for it relates to the COOP plan for the agency. In short, every person needs to "own" the process. At least annual individual and team training of agency To achieve this, an agency needs to train all personnel on COOP team personnel to ensure currency of knowledge COOP plans and conduct COOP drills, where personnel will and integration of skills necessary to implement COOP use a COOP plan in response to a mock emergency. COOP plans and carry out essential functions; plans may be adaptable to various scenarios that range from Annual internal agency testing and exercising of COOP partial or short-term relocations or loss of horizontal facili- plans and procedures to ensure the ability to perform ties (road and track) to complete disruptions of operations essential functions and operate from designated alter- and movement of an entire agency's operations from vertical nate facility(ies); facilities (buildings). The COOP team also needs to test its Quarterly testing of alert and notification procedures plans, backup, and recovery systems regularly. and systems for any type of emergency; Agencies must stress the intended result of the training Refresher orientation for COOP team members arriving before personnel receive training. COOP training is always at an alternate operating facility which covers the sup- aimed at an individual's and an agency's ability to provide port and services available at the facility, including personal and public safety and conduct essential operations communications and information systems and adminis- which emergency providers, other agencies and the public trative matters such as supervision, security, and per- need, even in times of an agency's emergency. sonnel policies; and Agencies need to Joint agency exercising of COOP plans, when applica- ble and feasible. Train all employees on COOP plans and the agency's needs for them; Each and every training, drill, or exercise should be planned Train all employees on their potential roles in the process; to achieve specific purposes, and an immediate review (oral Train all employees to the level of expertise and skill or written or both) by participants, organizers, and senior required; leadership is essential. The review should focus on what hap- Test the plans, policies, and equipment for operational- pened, what went well, what did not go well, and how any of ity and effectiveness; those results can be improved or changed. Changes should be Drill personnel on tasks assigned; and considered and implemented as quickly as possible, because Exercise decision-making skills and methodologies. a real emergency situation testing those procedures and pro- cesses could happen soon. Agencies test and exercise plans, equipment, and personnel to demonstrate and improve their ability to execute the plan. Training familiarizes COOP team members with the essential UPDATING THE PLAN functions that they may have to perform in an emergency. Tests and exercises help to validate and identify shortfalls in Finally, a transportation agency is advised to review and specific aspects of the COOP plan, policies, procedures, sys- update its plans regularly. The work of the COOP team does tems, and facilities used in response to an emergency situa- not end with the development and implementation of a COOP

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38 program. Indeed, development and implementation are just Change in plans for alternate location sites and/or con- the beginning. An effective COOP plan will not remain viable tact persons; and without regular review and revision. Changes in agency priorities and/or policies on security The most obvious reasons to change the plan are the addi- functions at main facilities or alternate facilities. tion and/or subtraction of essential functions, of essential personnel, of essential resources, or essential support sys- tems. The second most obvious need is to change processes, A plan that is out of date can itself be a threat to an agency, approaches, or procedures as a result of lessons learned because the absence of key personnel, incorrect telephone or through drills and exercises. address information that prevents contacts being made, and The following situations might prompt a review and poten- subsequent delays could threaten the safe and orderly trans- tial update at any time: fer of operations to alternate means or to alternate locations. Completed worksheets prepared using these guidelines, or Extended leave or absence of key personnel (because of those that have been created by or modified by a transit/ sickness, debilitating injury, retirement, or death); transportation agency, can be incorporated directly into the New hiring of a person to a position included on any COOP plan. The objective is to ensure the plan accurately COOP team roster, delegation of authority listing, or reflects the capabilities and requirements of the transporta- succession plan; tion agency to provide essential functions during an emer- New functions of the agency or functions assumed by gency that disrupts normal operations. the agency that are considered to be essential because of Using the sample plan, the transportation agency can mod- statutory or regulatory requirements, public safety needs, ify the text to create a document that reflects its unique or administrative priority; requirements. As appropriate, supporting procedures and Retirement of and/or introduction of equipment or other checklists may be developed. Worksheet 33 can be used by the non-human resources that have been or will be used to COOP team to make sure that the developed plan addresses support an essential function; the COOP requirements discussed in these guidelines.