~ JANUARY 18, 2011 ~

LIZ PERSAUD: ... Jim Cook our new emergency

management consultant; and Trish Redmon, our consulting

editor and educator will be our lead speakers. And I just

wanted to go through some basic housekeeping things with

the webinar system.

Is everyone able to see the slides okay? Okay.

Wonderful. If you have any difficulty, just let me know,

and I'll refresh.

If you, again, also have any difficulty, you can

refresh in your upper left-hand corner. Just hit the

little recycle/refresh button as we do the PowerPoint

slides for you.

Again, we appreciate you guys jumping on with us,

plan B, here on the phone. But if you want to type in any

questions or any comments in the public-chat area, you can

do that. It's on the right-hand side of your screen.

As you can see, we were typing in some comments

there. So right underneath there's a white box. You can

just type in your questions and comments, and we'll be

looking over there for that information throughout the

webinar and at the end for questions as well too.

Underneath that you'll see that we have our

moderators. And we have a list of all of our presenters as

well, too.

We just want to let everyone know that Kimberly

Griffin is on with us.

Hey, Kimberly.

She's our transcriptionist. So she'll be recording

this webinar. And we have webinar archives up on the Pass

It On Center webinar page.

So in about three to four weeks we'll get the

PowerPoint up, the recording, and the transcript as well.

So anybody who would like to get that information after the

fact can obtain it that way as well.

So we appreciate you, Kimberly, being on with us.

Can you all see the next slide that says "Download

Work Package"? Hopefully we're all going to be in sync

here in just a few moments. All right. Great.

We have a work package that goes along with this

webinar and something that y'all can use after the webinar

as well, too.

So if you go to the knowledge base, right under

"New to the Knowledge Base" section, you can download the

package of worksheets and start working on a plan for your


And you'll get more information on the worksheets

and just how the flow of everything works once we get into

the meat and content of this webinar. But the information

is on the Pass It On Center knowledge base, and it's where you can find and download

your work package for your plan for your center.

We are offering CEUs for this webinar. We do

apologize, but we were unable to get CRCs for this webinar.

But we will have them for the upcoming webinars and for the

rest of the year.

But CEUs are available. And if you visit the AAC

Institute,, you can get your credit

information there and work with them directly on filling

out all of the information.

For some of you who have contacted me and said that

previous webinars haven't been posted, just bear with them.

We're getting all the information up there as quickly as we

can. I've been working with AAC Institute on that. So

appreciate your patience with that as well, too.

My voice is faint. Okay. I'll try speaking up.

Can you guys hear me better now? Is that better? Okay.


I also wanted to remind everyone that we did a

webinar back in November on using the IQ-ATR online tool.

Has anybody on the webinar used that at all? Hopefully

y'all have.

But we actually were really trying to encourage

people to use it. And we want you guys to register for an

account and get on there and use the IQ-ATR online tool.

You can download the webinar slides from the

webinar archive and get all the information to refresh


But what we're doing is, anyone who goes on there

and creates a profile and goes through to do the entire

online assessment tool, we're going to actually put

everyone's name in a hat and draw out winners.

And each of you -- we'll do three of those. And

it'll be three $50 Visa gift cards that y'all can use

towards your program.

So we really just want to bump up the incentive to

get everybody on there and using the IQ-ATR. So that's

just a reminder for that so y'all can win some money from

Pass It On Center.

These are our learning objectives for this webinar.

Before we jump into it, I just wanted to quickly introduce

Jim Cook, who is on the line with us. Jim is brand new to

the Pass It On Center, and we are so honored and just

greatly appreciative that he is here joining our team.

He is our emergency management consultant. Jim

served as the county emergency manager in Kansas for five

years. He also served on the Southeast Kansas Incident

Management Team.

His disaster response experience includes five

presidentially declared disasters; 16 days in Mississippi

after Hurricane Katrina; worked in Greensburg, Kansas after

the tornado; and worked in Louisiana at state level after

Hurricane Gustav.

Jim is a wonderful guy. We had a great team

planning meeting here in Atlanta in the middle of December.

We all were able to really get some information together on

what the next steps are for Pass It On Center getting

awareness out there about emergency management.

And I was just so glad that Jim was able to make it

here to Atlanta and we were able to get to know each other

as a team.

So we really are glad that you're a part of our

team, Jim. So welcome.

And everybody, it's Jim Cook.

Trish Redmon is also our speaker as well, too. A

lot of you may know Trish. She's wonderful, and we just

absolutely love having Trish on our team.

She's also a consultant with the Pass It On Center.

She's participated in the development of numerous corporate

cooperative plans and in the implementation of plans for

hurricanes in Florida and an ice storm in Maine.

She participated in disaster recovery for a company

without a written plan that was destroyed by a tornadic

downburst. So I'm sure Trish will share a little bit of

that in just a few moments.

But before I pass it on to you -- Jim, I believe,

is our first speaker -- I just wanted to go through our

learning objectives for this webinar.

The first one is to identify circumstances that

threaten the ability of the program to operate; to

understand the components of the continuity of operations

plan, or COOP, as people say; and then to compile the

information for preparing a COOP for your reuse program.

So with that being said, I'm going to stop talking

and pass it on to Jim Cook, who is going to take the next

couple of slides.

So, Jim, are you on with us?

JIM COOK: ... might threaten your ATC or your

business, and it shows that these are threats that occur

all the time all across the country and in relatively large


I do want to point out that we'll be talking not

just about the big federal disaster declarations but small

things that might affect how you're able to run your

business (inaudible).

As you can see, if you would add this up, there was

barely 200 federally declared disasters from 2009. What

that means is disasters of the nature shown on the slide

occurred somewhere in the United States, and the local

people affected tried to cope, tried to deal with whatever

it was that they were facing and were unable to.

They then asked their neighbors for assistance.

And after that was exhausted, they were still unable to

cope, and so they asked their state for assistance.

And the states might provide National Guard troops,

for example, National Guard vehicles to help clear roads

and rescue people. They might activate their agreements

with the Red Cross for sheltering, things of that nature.

And if the state does not have the resources to

help, then the federal government is asked to declare a

disaster declarations. That actually goes across the

president's desk. And if the president approves, then FEMA

comes in and brings in the resources of the federal


Beyond FEMA, the Small Business Administration is

involved at that level. They offer loans for

reconstruction at better rates than companies can get


There's some money that doesn't need to be paid

back from the Small Business Administration, but generally

those are loans for private businesses at better rates.

Any questions about how that works?

If not, the next slide, please.

For your agencies this is more the key. Every

disaster is considered to be a local problem as just

explained before did. So for your agency to be prepared

and to plan ahead on how you might operate if some sort of

disaster would make your business, building, or your

personnel unable to do the job, that's considered your

responsibility to begin with.

So each county in the country that actually deals

with FEMA has done a risk assessment for that county, as

in, for example, where I live, flooding, storms are the

main issue. That's not going to be the case necessarily

say in, I don't know, California -- at least eastern


But each county does a risk assessment based on the

historical facts that exist and even their own observation.

So what you need to do is get in touch with your

county emergency management official. They will have risk

assessments for your county and be able to tell you what

the primary risks are, whether they are natural disasters

or manmade.

And by doing that, you'll be able to tailor the

plan that you're about to build to the most likely scenario

that you would face.

The primary thing I think for all of us for keeping

afloat, the most likely thing to occur for any number of

reasons, for example, would be a power outage. Ice storm

might do that. Wind might do that. Problems in the power

companies, problems with the grid can disrupt power for a

few minutes or several days.

In fact, there have been cases where it was several

weeks. And I think we all could figure very easily what

would happen to our jobs and our abilities to do the work

that we do if we don't have power.

The options might be generators. That's an

expensive option and not necessarily one that would keep

you afloat for weeks on end unless you can afford fuel.

But in short-term instances, that can keep you

operating. So those are the types of options you would

look for in your plan to try to be able to keep functioning

in something as simple as a relatively long power outage.

Any questions there?

Next slide, please.

As I just mentioned, many of the things that you

might face won't necessarily be a huge disaster in terms of

the area covered or the number of people affected. It

might only affect the block where your business or your

agency is located.

A number of things can affect that. Access to

utilities. And that can be prompted by any number of other

items as well. A fire in your neighborhood might force the

power to be shut off for hours or days. I think we've seen


Another very common thing that I've found is loss

of Internet access. And I think a lot of us don't really

recognize the extent to which we depend on the Internet to

do our jobs.

Trying to develop some sort of back-up plan for

that to stay afloat can be difficult, but it's worth the

effort to try to find a way around issues like that.


All right next slide, please.

Once you've identified what your most likely risk

factors are, that's when your (inaudible) plan would come

into play. And as you try to determine your best way

around the issue, keep your doors open.

There are a number of things you might do,

including having agreements to move elsewhere temporarily

or to have other agencies help cover for you.

If you have to move, you need to have a plan for

how things will be moved physically. And that might be

volunteers from churches or Red Cross or the fire


But you need to think about those things in advance

and have agreements in place with people that, yes, they

will come help you if they can.

The problem with this sort of planning and all

other emergency planning is they are just plans. People

can say they will do it, but if they're affected by the

disaster, they might be unable to come help you even though

they had agreed to do that. So you need to build some

redundancy into plans and have back-ups for your back-ups

if you can.

Any questions here? No? It reminds me of the

second grade. Nobody has any questions? All right.

Next slide, please.

We've talked a lot about the variety of things that

might affect you. And one thing to consider very heavily,

as you think about where you are and what risks you might

be exposed to, is to go beyond what -- every little town,

every large city has railroads that run through them, and

there are a number of bad things that roll through your

town every day, like tanker trucks and boxcars.

The federal government tries to regulate how those

things are stored, how they're moved. If you ever sit at a

railroad crossing and watch trains go by, if you study

those cars, you'll see the little diamond-shaped placards.

And those things tell first responders what the cargo is

and what type of danger they present.

And with a little studying -- you can actually take

a course on this for free from FEMA online -- you might see

that there's one or two tanker cars, and then there's, oh,

four or five boxcars and then a couple more tanker cars.

The railroads actually separate their cargo so

that, in the case of a derailment, the anhydrous ammonia in

the first two tankers won't mix in with items further back

on the train and create an explosion or create gas that

could be a health hazard.

So I'm not trying to scare you, but that's the

reality of things. So you need to pay attention to where

your business is, what kind of traffic goes by, and what

the risk that might present if there's a problem from


The same is true with highways. If you've paid

much attention to semis, you'll see those diamond placards

as well. We've all seen signs that say "Flammable." But

if you know those codes, which you can learn from the FEMA

class, you'll be able to identify what's being hauled in

the semi ahead of you.

And that kind of knowledge might be helpful, and it

would definitely be helpful as you build your plan.

All right. Next slide.

This is, I think, one of the most important things

of this webinar. It's one of the things that I've pressed

as long as I've been in this line of work.

The federal response plan which details how

emergencies are expected to be responded to from the local

all the way up through the federal (inaudible), the number

one thing on that list is that it's up to you as an

individual, and therefore as an individual business, to be

prepared to take care of yourself for at least 72 hours

following a disaster.

In reality, the government does not expect to be

able to help anyone as an individual for the first three

days after a disaster.

And if you think about that, that there aren't that

many emergency workers to deal with the number of

individuals who might be affected in any given incident, it

does make sense. So personal preparation and preparation

for your agency is the number one thing.

There are ways -- there are huge lists of items and

ways to go about doing this, again, available on FEMA's


I've talked to a number of people at Lions Clubs

and things of that nature, and people seem surprised at

this three-day period.

But on the other hand, a lot of them here in

Kansas, for example, who've had their power out for two

days and seen snowfall three feet high and they couldn't

get to the store, and they realized they're already doing

that sort of planning. They tend to keep enough foodstuff

on hand. They might not keep enough potable water. But

once they begin to think about what those needs are, they

do try to prepare that way.

But this type of personal preparation goes all the

way out to having copies of your Social Security card, your

bank account numbers, having cash at home.

If the power is out for three days, your debit card

will not work, and your credit card will not work. It

might be electronic cash registers will not work.

So if you're going to buy groceries, if you

actually have access, you actually have to have cash. And

I know that's a difficult thing for a lot of us, and a lot

of us are worried about keeping cash at home. That's still

something you might want to consider.

I have a question here from Mark. "Is FEMA's

response inherently different for natural disasters as

opposed to manmade?"

The answer is no. The planning process is all

hazards (inaudible). The basic approach is pretty much the

same across the board. Then you make adjustments based on

the causes and effects.

Does that make sense, Mark?

TRISH REDMON: Thank you, Jim. Great --

JIM COOK: Okay. Any other questions about this?

I really encourage you to go online to FEMA and check on

personal preparedness.

TRISH REDMON: Okay. Let's talk about why plan.

Obviously we think AT reuse serves a critical role

in emergency response, and we can't serve customers if our

own programs can't operate.

So the goal is to restore services to customers as

quickly as possible, always being mindful that, if it's a

real disaster, we may have a large number of new customers

created by that incident who are in need of very quick

access, maybe to interim AT but to some AT that serves the

purpose for the time being.

This is not going to be a master plan for

everything. If you're a federal agency, you must have a

plan. And you can see online, if you want to check those

out, what's required for federal agencies in the federal

preparedness circular. If you go onto the FEMA website, or

if you look at the FEMA site, you will see that they have a

template for a continuity of operations plan that's

required of federal agencies.

We're going to do something simpler, because what's

really important here, as Jim and I discussed yesterday, is

that you go through the thought process of planning.

In actuality, you will rarely encounter the exact

scenario you plan for. But if you've gone through the

thought process, you will have thought about the back-ups,

what the contingencies are, and what kinds of recourse and

support and redundancy you have that you can call on to get

yourself back in operation.

Now, as Liz mentioned, major companies make the COO

plans all the time. In times past, I've spent a lot of

years in newspapers at a time when most people really read

newspapers, and we thought we were performing very

essential services.

And we made emergency publication plans all the

time every year about anything that we thought could go

wrong. And I was actually involved in implementing some of

those plans.

Usually they work well. I mean the plans I was

involved in in Florida were really good response plans to

hurricanes and very successful for us.

Sometimes people do everything they're told, and

you find out afterward that there are flaws in your plan.

And we'll talk about that.

But the important thing is that we formulate a

basic plan and we think through the scenarios that are most

likely to affect our programs.

Okay. Most of you are aware that hospitals

rehearse scenarios for significant disasters all the time.

Sometimes you'll go to a hospital for a routine test, and

you'll see this incredible drill going on. And that's

probably their disaster drill for scenarios for things that

can happen in their area.

Retail stores analyze how to serve customers before

and afterward. Home Depot is a great example. When a

hurricane is coming, they plan what you're going to buy

before the storm, and they plan what you're going to need

after the storm, and they attempt to keep the stores open

and optimize their sales as much as possible.

TV stations do what they call a vulnerability

assessment. And it's really just a plan to keep

broadcasting. And what they consider is everything that

could happen to them to lose facilities that allow them to

transmit or to cover the stories, and they turn that into a


We're going to do -- in your package you'll find a

real basic outline for a continuity of operations plan.

This is just a starting point. If you take that table of

contents, and it gives you something to think about. You

can add to it, subtract from it, depending on your


The first thing though we think you need to do is

identify what the essential reuse activities are and what

supplies and resources you would need to perform those


Now, if you're a program that routinely collects

donations, refurbishes durable medical equipment for

reassignment to other people, you may not be in a position

to do any of that in a disaster.

You may decide that what you can do is only be

available to assign or loan devices to people who need it.

And that the best solution is to make cooperative plans

with other programs or other resources to provide greater

inventory for you to be able to do the assignment task.

So the important thing is to know, What am I going

to try to do? It may not be a goal of we'll continue

business as usual.

If your problem is something very local and your

facility has been affected and you need to move out for a

month, but you want to do all your same activities, that's

one thing. If you've had a major natural disaster that's

affected your ability to operate, you probably want to

curtail the activities that you do and identify what you

need to do that.

So one of the first things you'll do and we'll talk

about in greater detail is create the emergency staffing

plan with a contact list and a succession plan.

Depending on the situation, you may want to make

arrangements for an alternate operating location. That

becomes a real tricky business, but it's important to know,

if you really had to operate from somewhere else, where

might that be? It may not be palatial, but if you can

function in a barn and serve your customers, then you might

want to do that.

You need to determine what triggers the plan and

what ends the plan. That's going to be what circumstance

and what individuals make that happen and what ends it.

One of the most critical facets of especially

natural disasters is the impact on the communications

network. We're all so dependent on our cell phones, on our

Internet. And we may not have access to those things. So

in that case, how do you communicate?

You want to document the entire plan because it

does force you to go through the thought process. And then

you want to train your staff and rehearse the

implementation of that plan.

So let's talk about essential reuse activities.

Suppose you're going to suspend accepting donations

and refurbishing. Where will you get devices? This has

been one of our major concerns in trying to further

emergency preparedness initiatives at the Pass It On

Center, is to actually put in place a national framework of

available AT that can be accessed to plan for the logistics

of the distribution of that AT and to determine what we do

afterward, whether we try to recover the AT when it's no

longer needed, where it goes afterwards.

So if you want to participate in some of those

initiatives, Jim will be our leader in coordinating some

special working groups to follow up on all that planning.

When you create the scenarios, you will decide how

your operations will be altered by the scenario you

determine. And a lot of that depends on what you do now.

So every program will be different. You will take

the activities you do now and determine which ones you will

want to try to continue and which ones you will temporarily


In your package you will find some really -- what I

call quick-and-dirty tables. And these are -- they're

examples. But that just tells you here are some guidelines

for worksheets that will help you do this.

So as you plan for the essential reuse activities,

you need to know what supplies, tools, and services are

needed to perform that.

If you're going to continue to perform intake and

assessments of needs, then obviously you need to keep some

kind of record. You may do this completely on paper. It

depends on the circumstances facing you.

If you can continue to do it on a computer and you

usually keep it in a computer database, that's great. But

if you don't have the electrical power to make that

possible, then, you know, hard copy still works. So you go

through, and you decide, you know, How am I going to

perform each of these? What will it take to do these?

What kinds of tools? What kinds of services need to be


And then, as you do that, you'll want to know,

Who's going to do this? Who knows how to do this?

Emergency staffing. First of all you need to

determine which workers are actually essential for each of

your scenarios. You may not need all of the people who

work for you.

Now, we're aware that no AT reuse program we're

familiar with has a surplus of workers in any category. So

you may actually want to reach out to your volunteer

network and see if you can increase the number of

volunteers available to you in the event of a disaster.

But after you determine essential workers, then you

want a complete list of workers with contact information.

Not just their routine contact information, but, How am I

going to reach you if you are displaced from your home? Is

the cell phone still the best working number, or is there

another place you're likely to go?

Which workers are not going to be available to you

for emergencies? There will be people with circumstances

who cannot be part of the emergency response effort.

And you may want to consider transportation in case

of emergency. Jim has laughed at me, but I have

experienced these. You have people who own four-wheel

drives go pick up workers in snowstorms. And I truly --

and in one flooding episode in Miami had an employee get to

work by hitching a ride in a canoe that was being paddled

down her street in south Miami. Jim didn't think that was

reliable transportation.

JIM COOK: Well, my fear was, whose canoe do you

want to get in? That's a different issue.

TRISH REDMON: It's true.

But those are the considerations. How are we going

to reach your staff?

And all the people willing to work are very

important. So you need to know, Are they going to be

available? How do I reach them?

And make a note if they have special resources such

as four-wheel-drive vehicles. Or maybe they do have

powerboats if you're in an area that experiences routine


Or make a note if you have someone who is available

to work but they have special needs in order to do their

job. So, you know, we're going to keep ten spare batteries

around here so that Liz never gets off the hook from


Then a big issue could become who takes over if the

person who usually performs the role is not available to do

so. And there may be lots of reasons that happens. So you

need to identify not just your management, not just your

executive director who's going to take over. Who's going

to perform every key role in the activities that you've

decided to continue?

And try to get two or three people deep for each

one of those roles because you may need to reach that point

for a lot of different reasons when you respond to a


So cross-training at this point becomes a really

valuable tool. It serves you well even during routine

operations, but this makes it even more valuable when you

train or brief successors on the responsibilities, and then

you go into really cross-training so that you have enough

people for real back-up and redundancy and staffing.

So we have just a real quick little cheat sheet

here. Here's who's normally in the position, and in order

who's going to take over this role if that person is unable

to do it.

And don't keep putting the same names in those

columns because you may have to fall back to redundancy in

every position. So make sure you have different people in


So you can cross-train one person to do all four

jobs, but they can't do all four jobs simultaneously. So

think about that.

So let's look at where you get your AT devices.

This is one of the big challenges that we're really facing

and working on at Pass It On Center, is how do we have

either caches of inventory or networked resources to know

the inventory that other programs have?

So you first consider, if your inventory is in

jeopardy, will you relocate the inventory of devices that

you have? Where will you get additional devices for

identified needs? How do we get those devices to you?

If we have devices in Atlanta and you need them in

Louisiana, how are we going to transport them? Where will

we take them?

And when you're giving out devices, how will you

track the assignment of devices? Because we'd like to

capture that information, even if on a piece of paper.

And if you make arrangements for all these things,

then we want some memorandums of agreement or memoranda of

understanding in place.

Now, the worst possible scenario is that you have

to find another place to operate. And I'm going to let Jim

talk about some of the possibilities of identifying an

alternate operating location.

JIM COOK: You have to really think in a very broad

sense. For most of us who might be in a smaller town,

there aren't going to be any huge number of available

buildings that you might move to. They won't necessarily

have the telephone hook-ups that you need or access to the

Internet, even the type of wiring that you might need for

the work that you do.

You also have to think in terms of how wide an area

a certain disaster might cover. For a small town, a

snowstorm might block out the whole city. You have to

think about moving even to another town, not just to

another neighborhood.

Once you identify those needs -- once again you

have to specify everything you need: power, utilities,

work space.

If you find someone or some agency that's willing

to assist you, you definitely need to formalize an

agreement with them, not only on a use of space but on how

much equipment of theirs you'll be able to use that they

will lend you.

If they say, "Well, we're going to charge you for

this," that needs to be included in your agreement so that

no one is surprised when it's all over if you were to be

presented a bill.

Same way with volunteer workers. Are they

volunteering if you need a plumber? Is this a volunteer

out of actual kindness, or is he going to send you a bill

later on?

FEMA tracks that sort of thing for public agencies.

And if you don't have those agreements, you just bought

whatever service was provided because you did not make the

arrangements ahead of time and formalize an agreement. So

it's very important to think in those terms.

Likewise, if there are things that you need to

function, can you stash those off-site so that they're

easily accessible, and then you can move them to a new site

if that occurs.

These are difficult things to do. But that's the

sort of thing you need to plan for and think about.

And you can maybe find help doing that by asking

local service organizations. When you think about what

their memberships are, the people who belong to those types

of organizations, certain businessmen might have an extra

building they're not using.

You need to look through sources like that to try

to find the resources that might be able to help you plan

if you are going to need to move.

TRISH REDMON: Jim, can I jump in and tell my

alternate location story?

JIM COOK: I think that's a very good idea.

TRISH REDMON: In 1990 I had accepted a new job in

St. Louis, Missouri. And when I arrived for my new job,

the building had been completely levelled. And this was a

few days afterward, and no one had reached me because I was

traveling cross-country.

So I arrived for a brand-new job to discover that

this one-year-old company I was joining literally did not

have a place to operate.

And so the owner -- and there was a great incentive

to get back into business because this company had been

taken private by 37 employees and the majority shareholder,

the president of the company. So there were about a

hundred employees, but about 50 of them owned the company.

And we moved into an empty supermarket. It was

only about three years old, but they had relocated the

supermarket to a new area. They had removed the cash

registers and check-out counters, but all the freezer cases

were there.

So for about three months I sat under signs in the

frozen vegetable department. And we had computers -- you

know, major mainframe computers parked on concrete floors

working. But we were very fortunate to have any place to

operate with that much space.

So that's my story. It's like plan ahead for where

you're going to be if it's possible to do so.

Okay, Jim. Thanks.

JIM COOK: All right. I will tell you that, when I

went to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, I was down

there about the end of the third week after the hurricane.

And we reported to a county emergency operations

center, which at that time was located at the high school

about nine miles inland because the actual emergency

operations center had been destroyed in the hurricane.

And after flying down from Kansas City and driving

down from Jackson, Mississippi, we arrived about 5:00 in

the afternoon and immediately started loading stuff out of

the high school into vehicles because they were moving to

another location.

So within three weeks they moved twice to try to

find a place which was operational. And I'm not sure that

y'all would need to have two alternate locations, but I've

seen where the need occurred, so it's worth thinking about.

Next slide if there are no questions.

We've talked a little bit about this, and you'll

find some ideas in the supporting documents there on the

PIOC site. But you have to think about virtually

everything, if you do end up moving, even down to, Where

will people be fed? I mean if they can't bring their own

lunches, is there actually a restaurant in the area? Pizza

Hut might not be delivering.

You have to think about every single thing it takes

for each individual that's going to work to do their job.

And one way to do that is to ask the people who work for

you to describe in detail what they do.

I've seen that exercise done, and it's surprising

to find how many people don't understand the full nature of

what they're supposed to be doing. So that's a good

exercise to go through as a manager no matter what.

Any other questions on that?

Trish did talk about documentation. You do need to

have records of all of this. Online isn't good enough

because of potential lack of access. Storing your written

records on-site isn't good enough either. If that site is

destroyed, so are all the records.

One of the jobs I had, people hand carried back-up

tapes out every night and took them home. I know of other

places that literally took them to the bank at five till

5:00 and stored them in a vault at the bank.

But keeping important records, not just of your

COOP plan, but things you need to operate. Keeping like

copies of those off-site where they're accessible and up to

date, backed up is very important.

Okay. Next slide.

Communications is the most difficult problem in any

disaster, and it's one that emergency managers at all

levels wrestle with time and time again. There is no

simple solution.

One thing that emergency managers do, your first

responders will do is to actually have telephones that

operate by satellite so that, if cell phones are down,

landlines are down, they can literally bounce phone calls

off a satellite to each other.

Those are expensive things to operate. But you

might find there are companies that operate those that are

willing to donate that technology to you in times of


There's an outfit, I think it was called Southern

Telecom, that operated in the south when I was down there

that literally handed out hundreds of satellite phones

after Katrina and assigned channels to them so that

agencies could operate. And that was actually a donation.

Not everyone can afford that. So in reality, it

may be as basic as designating a place for people to

physically meet after a disaster, or actually more than one

place, depending on how widespread the incident might be,

and getting together and talking face-to-face. Sometimes

that's the best first thing you can do.

Trish did mention having a back-up of phone numbers

beyond personal cell phones, family members, friends where

you might be likely to go.

Another thing would be to have a site or a plan for

people to check in with you. That they could post on the

Internet would be one way. Or if you have this meeting

place that you set up, so when you meet, they can post on a

bulletin board, "I'm staying with Uncle Joe, and his phone

number is this."

Beyond that and, for you to stay afloat and do the

work that you need to do, you need to make some plans ahead

on how you're going to communicate with the people you work

with and the people you work for.

And the experience that I've seen in big disasters,

one of the best things is signs, handwritten signs posted

on windows, posted on telephone poles, flyers handed out in

the street or stacked up by the check-out counter at the

convenience store or the bank.

Almost anything, any way you can think of to get

your message out. And if one person picks up that flyer

who is interested, that word will spread. So you need to

consider those types of options and where and how you can

get that done.


All right. Next, please.

We talked a little bit about getting in touch with

your local emergency management agency to help you define

the risks you're most likely to encounter.

They can help you figure out how to log on to

FEMA's website where there are dozens of forces that offer

a variety of topics but several that would be useful to all

of us like the personal preparation kits ahead of time.

There's one there that's just kind of a brief

outline of the federal government's approach to dealing

with people with disabilities.

But you could scroll through that list of courses.

And they are all free. Anyone can take them.

And if you choose to, you can take them, and if you

pass their test, they will let you know that, and they'll

have a certificate you can print out that proves that you

took that course and that you're familiar with that.

And that might be important somewhere down the road

to show that you are familiar with the topics of interest

or of importance to what you do.

Another thing to do is to -- one of those courses

actually is the National Emergency Management Framework.

It gives you kind of an overview of what we're talking

about overall in terms of who responds and when.

And another important thing to do is to keep in

touch with your local emergency manager. And that doesn't

mean necessarily that he or she will invite you to their

local emergency planning committee meeting. On the other

hand, they might invite you to serve on that committee.

But keeping in touch so they're aware of you so

that, when things come up, they're not surprised when they

hear from you and what your needs are or what you can

contribute to those in need.

That's very important. And I know, from my

experience, those managers don't always think about things

like this, people who can help them and people who might

need more help and be thinking of otherwise.

Those numbers should be available through your

county government. Cities also have emergency response

plans and personnel. So get in touch with them. Make sure

they're aware of you and what you can do for them in

addition to what they can do for you.

All right. Next slide, please.

As you get in touch with these agencies or

individuals or groups that can assist you, you have to

think very broadly in terms of -- Trish and I talked a

little bit about the Red Cross. And in some ways it's

somewhat restrictive on how it deals in certain instances.

But there are other groups out there. There's

local church groups that actually have forums who help out

in local emergencies. Make sure they're aware of your

agency and what your needs might be.

And keep in touch with them. Don't just visit with

them once and let it go. You have to remind them with some

regularity what you do and who you are.

And if you're really going to depend on someone to

show up and help you, it is important to have these

memoranda of agreements specifying what you expect them to

do or what they say they can and will do.

These contracts won't necessarily, you know, bind

them to come out and help you if they don't have the

personnel to do it. If they are affected, they will not

show up.

But what it should do is stop them from double

booking. I have encountered that more than once. A

nursing home said, "Well, the church said they were going

to come help us."

Well, the church had said that to a number of

people. They didn't have their own plan. And they had

agreed to do a number of things, and they simply could not

meet all the promises they made when they were thinking of

doing good works rather than actually doing it.

So that's where that memorandum can come in handy,

because it does designate that you are number one on their

list or the only one on their list to get assistance from


All right. Next slide, please.

The memorandums of agreement or memorandums of

understanding, there are a number of things that should be

included, and there are three listed here.

A very good example of how these work, what they

contain is actually on the PIOC knowledge base. It was

posted up there by the Louisiana Assistive Technology

Access Network. And if you go to the PIOC site and search

out LATAN, you'll be able to find that.

These memorandums, just like the two plans

themselves, you don't have to do this by yourself; you

don't have to reinvent the wheel.

There are existing examples out there that people

are willing to share to give you an idea of what should be


And when you look at those, either for your true

plan or your memorandum, you need to look them over

carefully and make sure you customize them to fit your

agency and whatever agency you're dealing with.

But the one from LATAN is actually a very good

example. It's inclusive. It's very clear. And it should

make it easy for both parties to understand what's



All right. Next slide, please.

This is, it's an interesting thing. When we think

about continuity of operations, we tend to be talking about

disasters, large or small, that are going to have a huge

impact on how we do our work.

So we have the plans made. We've done some

practice. How do we decide when we're actually going to

institute the plan? And who makes that decision?

These are kind of difficult questions, but then

again, not so much. The administrator obviously is going

to have a big role in specifying what prompts

implementation and who says, "We are now going to open the

COOP plan and start using it." And if you actually use

your COOP plan, you know who else will be able to do that.

The important thing about this, triggering the

plan, actually using it, is not to wait too long. It's

there for a reason. Go ahead and use it.

Open it up and say, "We are now operating under

this plan." Let your staff know ahead of time if you can

that the prospect exists or as soon as possible after


Don't spend any time saying, "Do you think we need

to do this?" If that question arises, the answer is yes.

Open your plan. Start using it. And then if it

turns out that what you expected to come to pass did not --

the snowstorm didn't close your agency, your power was

restored in six hours -- that's fine. Then you stop using

the plan.

In the meantime, you've actually exercised it.

You've opened it. You started to use it. And you can

determine how well that worked. It's a good exercise

whether you end up using it for real or not. So if you

ever do do that, you do want to review the process, see if

there are changes that need to be made to the plan to make

it more functional.

So, again, I encourage you don't wait too long. It

doesn't hurt anything to begin using the plan. And you can

stop at any time if you don't need it.

Next slide, please.

And this actually transmits right to this slide.

You need to determine when you will be able to resume

normal operations. And that might be -- you can figure

that out in two hours, and it might take you two months.

But that's actually going to be a collaborative

effort depending on how your agency works. I would think

it would be collaborative so that everyone who's affected

is aware, and they are able to at least get started back to

normalcy, to move that direction.

In this case it's a little trickier on when you

want to do that. It's something you have to consider

literally hour by hour and day by day as you go, because

obviously the sooner you get back to your normal

operations, the better it is for your employees and for the

people you serve.

On the other hand, if you push too far too early,

you might find that you set yourself back a few days or

even a few weeks. So you need to weigh those consequences

if you decide to do a move and make certain that you're


All right. Any questions here?

All right. Next slide then.

TRISH REDMON: Thank you, Jim.

JIM COOK: All right.

TRISH REDMON: Let's talk a little bit about

compiling the plan.

Basically, if you want to start from scratch,

that's great. Or you can take our little package and take

the table of contents and modify it to suit your program.

But the important thing is to collect the

information, to review the circumstances and the sequence

of events with all of your workers, write a plan including

policies and procedures.

You're probably sick of hearing us say that at the

Pass It On Center, but it's important to think through the

process and to have policies and procedures that you're

going to kick in when you trigger this emergency plan.

You'll want to document this and include copies of

all the memoranda of agreement or understanding that you

have with other organizations. And this plan is going to

outline their role and your role on how you're going to

work together.

Once you've made a plan, to the degree possible it

really helps to rehearse the plan. Just as we have public

school students practice fire drills and tornado drills and

earthquake drills and whatever, it helps to practice.

Practicing tells you what's wrong with the plan

usually. I've certainly seen that with school children.

It's like, What's wrong with sending them all to stand in

the same place, right? Or not having a plan for how you're

going to account for every child.

So when you practice it, you identify potential

issues. So it's helpful to involve everyone that you

expect to be involved in the real emergency.

And then you do the after-action review and

determine what didn't work so well.

I shared with Jim that, for a brief period in my

life, I was general manager of a small daily newspaper in

North Dakota. And after that daily newspaper was literally

flooded and then burned a few years ago, I called to ask if

they needed help rebuilding the database.

And the manager explained to me that their standard

procedure had been to store back-up tape of their

subscriber database in the basement.

Well, after the flood came and came up to the

second story almost, it became obvious why that wasn't a

good plan to store your back-up tapes in the basement.

They were saved by an employee who did not follow

instructions and who left the back-up tape on top of a file

cabinet on the second floor that day. But we don't want to

count on serendipity to rescue us.

So we look at that and say, We really should have

off-site back-up storage in a safe place. And if we live

on a river, then probably a basement is not a good place.

No matter what kind of plan you write or how well

it reads or how perfect it looks, you probably aren't going

to encounter what you planned for exactly. So you need to

be prepared to alter your plan.

You need to train your employees well enough that

they're going to follow the plan, but give them the

flexibility to respond to the circumstances on the ground.

I think one of the things the participants in the

Emergency Management Summit in DC last year heard was that,

in a lot of major disasters, people were so focused on

policies that they forgot the objectives of serving the


And so the important thing is, What can you do to

make sure that you can get the assistive technology to the

people who need it?

And that may mean changing your plan on the fly

because the circumstance may not be what you anticipated.

So keep focused on the objective, and see what you need to

do. It helps a lot to plan ahead of time.

So basically, after you have experienced any kind

of incident, small or large, it really helps to sit down

and document the lessons learned, the after-action


What were the personal experiences? How did you

interact with other programs? What happened to other


Maybe nothing happened to you, but you just hear

about what happened to some other program, and you need to

benefit from their experience and modify your plan. Maybe

you need to modify your plan just based on what you see in

real disasters and the reporting of those disasters and

anticipated something that you had not planned for.

So looking at lessons learned, whether they're

personal or other people's or just information that you

gleaned from the public, it's useful in modifying the plan.

Just writing it and putting it on the shelf and

never changing it probably won't help you. And at least

look at your plan once a year.

JIM COOK: Trish, if I may?


JIM COOK: When you do these after-action reviews,

too, it's important -- you want to point out what did work,

but the real goal is to find out what didn't --


JIM COOK: -- so that that can be repaired,

responded to, and handled better the next time around.

It can be a delicate approach, because a good

after-action review will involve all the parties who were

involved. And to be able to talk about circumstances or

the events rather than the individuals who may not have

handled the situation well requires some tact and delicacy.

The point isn't to point fingers at people who

failed to do what was expected or what they should have but

to find a way so that next time they will. So if you have

someone that's a very good diplomat, you might have them

lead the presentation when you do an A.A. talk.

TRISH REDMON: Good point, Jim. Thank you.

After you have some experience with this, we would

love to have you share it with us.

We have certainly benefited from the contributions

of LATAN, who gave us the two models for memorandum of

understanding and what needs to be in them. We've had

other people donate plans, communication devices.

But we would love to have you donate your

continuity of operations plan if you build one. Beyond

that, we would encourage all of you to participate in our

emergency management blog on the Pass It On Center website.

If you'd like to write about your planning process

for the blog, or if you'd just like to respond by

commenting in the blog, that would be wonderful.

Do we have any questions about this?

We're going to ask you to evaluate us. You know

that we do this every time that we do a webinar. So if you

would please go to the link on your screen and use

SurveyMonkey on your screen to do the evaluation, that

would be helpful to us for the future.

Do we have any other questions or comments? We

have open lines, so it's easier to contribute than usual.

No comments. Okay.

We want to thank you all for your participation

today. We will have the information up on the website as

soon as we can compile that. We do have the session

recorded, and it will be transcribed and posted.

Thank you so much, and good luck with your plan.

We'd love to hear from you about your experience.