Build a Plan in a Year: Month 4

How to Cope & Dependencies

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first three months of planning. You’ve laid down the foundation of your plan by collecting key information about your department and staff as well as the equipment and supplies you rely on to do your work. You’ve also defined your Critical Functions and considered what the consequences would be if you could not perform those functions.

This month we will continue to add more layers to your continuity plan by developing strategies that will allow you to continue to support your Critical Functions even if you lose the resources you normally have in place.

When thinking about how to cope in the event of a disruption, it’s important to think in terms of the level of disruption, not what type of disruption you may experience. Make a “Level of Disruption” plan instead of a hazard specific plan. That way it will be easier to apply your plan to all types of situations .

Thing through dependencies in two directions – both upstream and downstream.

  • Upstream dependencies are the departments WITHIN your campus whose reduced functioning would impact your own department’s ability to perform this Critical Function. So, ask yourself “Who do I rely on here at CSU to do this part of my job.”
  • Downstream dependencies are the departments or units that would be impacted if YOUR department could not perform this Critical Function. “Who relies on ME to do their job here at CSU.”
  • Dependencies are primarily departments, although sometimes you might name a process (e.g. instruction) or a group of people (e.g. students). If there is an individual in these departments that is key to you doing your work, capture their info in the Key People section under Key Resources.
  • Please choose from the drop down Dependency Menu. If a dependency you have is not on the list, please email or call (970-491-6169) Angela Gray before adding a Custom Dependency.

The dependencies you identify may be the same for multiple Critical Functions. Use the quick entry option by selecting the related Critical Function from the drop-down menu and click the Populate Dependencies button.

While this part of planning this month is the most time consuming, it is also the most important. Here we will be developing those alternatives and workarounds that will allow you to continue to support your Critical Functions.

The questions in this section ask you to visualize the conditions that might prevail in the weeks or months following a disaster. You may be missing key resources, such as your usual space, some of your staff, certain equipment, a key vendor, phone service, network access and so on.

  • How would you continue to work if your space is unavailable for a few days, weeks, months.
  • How can you continue or rapidly restart this Critical Function if you do not have a full staff for a few days, weeks, months.
    • When planning for staffing during and after an event, remember that many factors influence a person’s ability to come to work – availability of child care, schools, elder care, pet care, transportation, and many other factors when our lives get disrupted. Can you compensate with temporary help? Where will you find them? How much training will they need? Can you cross train your staff now?
  • In the Work From Home section, note if there are parts of this Critical Function that can be done at home without a computer.
  • What if this function relies on specialty equipment and you cannot replace it for a few days, weeks, months.
  • How can you carry out this function without network access?

Provide brief answers to these questions – ideas and points, not detailed procedures. If details are needed, capture them in this form and upload it on the Documents Screen.

If your suggestions require pre-disaster preparations, that’s ok – we will address those action items in the next couple of months.

For this month’s action items, address any gaps or uncertainties you discovered as you worked through the above steps. Here are some possible questions you might explore:

  • Are there teams or individuals you should develop relationships or agreements with to ensure you know who to call after a disaster as well as know how they can support you?
  • Are there any cross-training opportunities to make sure your staff can support each Critical Function?
  • Are there digital processes that can be moved to paper and do the appropriate forms or documents exist?

Before we move on to next month’s tasks, you may want to get feedback from people who perform these Critical Functions every day. They will be able to provide a greater depth of detail to your plan. Next month we will reanalyze each of your Critical Functions, which will be the perfect time to include any suggestions you get back.