MCP Insights

Developing Your Mission-Critical Agency’s Continuity-of-Operations Plan

Posted on August 5, 2020 by Richard Gaston

Continuity-of-operations plans (COOP) represent a significant investment of time and resources. However, COOPs are also critical to maintaining a mission-critical agency’s operations during and after a natural or manmade event— including, but not limited to, tornadoes, hurricanes, pandemics, and terrorist attacks. While it is impossible to prevent or predict these events, having a COOP in place can help mitigate the effects of such disasters—ultimately enabling an agency to maintain critical operations when communities need them most.

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What the Public Safety Community Can Learn From the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on June 17, 2020 by Darrin Reilly

In a recent post, I touched upon some of the novel ways that the public safety community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post I’ll explore some of the most important lessons that have been learned.

First and foremost, all public safety agencies need continuity-of-operations (COOP) and disaster-recovery (DR) plans. We have roughly 150 subject-matter experts, and as they travel the country supporting clients, they often discover the complete lack of such plans and/or they come to realize that they haven’t been updated for quite some time. This always amazes me. Every agency should have such plans. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” While the pandemic has brought this need into sharp focus, there are many events—tornados, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, hazmat incidents—that could render an emergency communications center inoperable, inaccessible or uninhabitable.

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COVID-19 Has Brought Out Public Safety's Resolve, Ingenuity

Posted on June 4, 2020 by Darrin Reilly

Sometimes you don’t have a choice—an event occurs that is so cataclysmic that you are forced to do things you had no idea you were capable of doing, and certainly no desire to do them. Here’s a for instance. On December 6, 1941, the United States continued on its slow but steady recovery from the Great Depression, content in the cocoon of its isolationism. Things were getting better, fueled in part by the New Deal. And then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the next day. In an instant, the U.S., its citizens, and their way of life were turned upside down—and a lot of things changed very quickly as a result.

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What’s Next? Conducting an Incident Response Review

Posted on May 29, 2020 by Chris Kelly

As states begin to reopen and communities slowly return to normalcy, organizations, including mission-critical agencies, must evaluate their responses to the COVID-19 public-health crisis and leverage their experiences to prepare for future crises. Conducting an incident-response review, also called a hot wash, enables agencies to identify areas in which they performed well, as well as where their responses could use improvement. When conducted as part of an agency’s after-action reporting activities, this review can help build a better incident-response plan moving forward.

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Why COOP/DR Plans Need to Consider GIS Data Maintenance

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Robert Horne

A couple of weeks ago, MCP’s Richard Gaston posted about why it is critically important for every public-safety agency, regardless of size and resources, to have continuity-of-operations plans (COOP) and disaster-recovery (DR) plans in place. This post addresses an element that is lacking in many such plans, a gap that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus—geographic information system (GIS) data maintenance.

For decades, location of 911 callers was determined solely by querying the master street address guide (MSAG) and automatic location identification (ALI) tabular databases. About a quarter century ago, GIS-generated data entered the picture—quite literally—as computer-aided dispatch (GIS) system mapping applications began to leverage it to depict 911-caller locations on the map display on telecommunicators’ screens. In the Next Generation 911 (NG911) environment, GIS data will play an even bigger role, because geospatial data will replace MSAG and ALI data as the primary means of locating 911 callers.

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