CPG 101 Emergency Operations Plan Development – The Basic Plan

There are several thoughts and approaches to the Basic Plan section of an Emergency Operations Plan.   Many very practical planners provide an overview with general facts and an overview hazard section that is sometimes subtitled, "The Situation".    The CPG 101 loads up the BASIC PLAN section with not only situation facts, but also general information on Administration, Communication, Coordination, Capability and Direction and Control.  

Here are some of the areas of my approach.   Yes to all of the above.   And, whatever is needed to support the emergency response and recovery plans and protocols of the associated annexes and contingencies put it in the BASIC PLAN.

When preparing a Basic Plan section, one of my goals is to articulate through this section the facts and data of the geo-political and demographical situation, a listing of the locations and features of the jurisdiction, identification and basic definition or descriptions of the hazards, threats and potential incidents, general response capabilities and a summary of the overall emergency operations management as outlined in the CPG 101.   The information presented in the Basic Plan section becomes the basic information in the management and functional response annexes, as well as, the individual hazard or incident guides (also annexes).  

It takes a bit of time, effort and research to write up a Basic Plan.   For a county, for example, it includes all the sub-jurisdictions, other local government entities and other types of entities, including federal, state and tribal reserves and lands that are situated within the county's borders.   It also includes a good description and listing of the infrastructures (such as transportation, rail, air, communication, utilities, etc.) and the major operations and sites such as large employers, industrial complexes, stadiums and areas of assembly.   I always include lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands, preserves, and major features such as ranges, mountains, deserts and agriculture.  

The listing of municipalities, governments, districts and especially the entities involved in emergency operations is important.   These listed agencies and entities are found as primary and support agencies and entities in the annexes and are the "Plan Holders" and sometimes signature agencies to the sections of the Emergency Operations Plan in which they are the primary or lead agency.  

The Response Capability section can be approached a number of ways.   I have seen this section iterated as a Resource Listing with totals of emergency responders, equipment, apparatus, and agencies.   I have a different approach and I have to thank my good colleague, Cindy Mullaney, at the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services (Montana) for helping me think this through.   She suggested and I agreed that this was a good approach that we think of this in terms of incident TYPING.     Following through on her comment, I worked with my last three clients on typing an incident using the TYPE V-I categories.     With this approach, the response capability for the jurisdiction for each hazard or incident response can be identified and listed to respond to and recovery from a certain type of incident.   You could also correlate this to "Levels of Emergencies".   This was very useful in preparing the hazard/incident response guides.

The hazard identification planning process is one of the most interesting processes of the planning effort.   I utilize a Composite Risk Index approach and work closely with the planning oversight group to do a CRI assessment in 2 modes.   The first is to weigh the probability and rank according to Probability X Impacts which presents a list of ranked hazards on probability.   This is usually supported by historical data.   The second is to calculate the sum (no weight or multiplication) of the probability and impacts, all having the same weight or emphasis.   The result is a ranking on impacts.   It is a different list.   Both are valuable as a first level hazard analysis.   For each hazard (which I generally list as an alphabetical list), we also spend the time to prepare a succinct definition that is appropriate for that jurisdiction.   This definition carries through the plan.   This planning session is one of the most enjoyable and interesting in the process and shouldn't, in my view, be shortcut.   Some planners will have this section separated as its own annex which is also a good idea if it will be augmented by maps, graphics, photos and other information.

I also include a general list of planning assumptions for the jurisdiction.   This is also a great discussion for the planning oversight group and is a major step in setting up the processes for response and coordination in the annexes.

I include sections on authority, chain of delegation, basic concepts of levels of authority, levels of emergency, levels of response and recovery, phases of emergency management, emergency declarations, states of emergency and other major concepts of an emergency response for the jurisdiction.   If there are acronyms and other terms that are unique to the emergency plan, I also include a glossary.  

One of the last sections is the requirements in the CPG 101 to address Administration, Finance, Direction & Control, Communication and other major response and recovery functions.   I have my own approach to this which is divided by phase and authority.   It is important to be able to summarize these operational processes as they are also key components of the annexes.

And, I include a training and exercise section, if this is NOT an annex, which I think it should be.   This part would need to be updated annually as the exercise and training program is updated.

There are other additions to the Basic Plan and it can be as comprehensive as you want.   One of my goals is that the Emergency Managers do not have to find another source of basic data during an emergency for their reports, public information releases, and operational information.   They can refer to the Basic Plan and find what they need, and in most cases, lift out the text for their forms and documentation.   Additionally, by reading the Basic Plan, all leaders in the jurisdiction will be on the SAME PAGE AND CONCEPT during an emergency response.   Further, it is an education and training tool and by reading it, the reader understands the SITUATION for the jurisdiction and is articulate in the Basic Concepts.  

Wanna talk about the Basic Plan – give me a shout – Jan Decker 253 261 2704, jan.decker@comcast.net

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