Contingency Plans

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Contingency plans should be detailed and instructive and address the specific needs of every office of county government. They should anticipate the various types of disasters your county might face.  Response to a flood will be different from response to a fire or earthquake or tornado. In addition to furnishing officials and staff members with copies of the plan, duplicates of the plan should also be stored off-site in case of disasters of truly catastrophic proportions. The best recovery plan will do no good if the only copy is locked inside a file cabinet in an office that is burning down.

A good disaster contingency plan will

  • Designate who is in charge of recovery operations and who will be working on recovery teams.  It should include all necessary information for contacting these people at any hour of the day or night;
  • Anticipate the types of disaster the county may face and provide basic instructions for the first responders to an emergency to ensure that everything possible is done to minimize damage and preserve the safety of individuals responding to the disaster (e.g. evacuation plans, directions for shutting off electrical current in case of a flood, locations of shut-off valves in case of a broken water line);
  • Include an inventory of supplies and equipment that are available for use in salvage efforts. The inventory should identify locations of important supplies and equipment—everything from heavy machinery to fire extinguishers to mops and buckets;
  • Identify alternative office space and other facilities which might be used if the county needs temporary space for relocation or salvage operations;
  • Include current contact information for experts in emergency management like TEMA, FEMA, and other governmental entities, plus commercial entities that can provide expertise in recovery and salvage if the disaster is too large for the county to handle by itself; and
  • Have a plan for acquiring replacement office equipment and supplies quickly and efficiently. This will be especially essential if computer equipment was damaged in the disaster.