Continuity of Operations

What is COOP?

Continuity of Operations (COOP) is the readiness to continuing performing the most important and time sensitive work, even when disrupted by a big emergency. 

Essential processes are urgent, important, and time-sensitive, and are a subset of all organizational processes, that must continue to prevent adverse consequences.

All UMB schools, divisions, and units have essential processes that must continue and rapidly resume to seamlessly support our community in a time of need.

How does an emergency impact my working and learning environment?

People, places, and things are impacted during an emergency:

  • People are unavailable because they are hurt, sick, or because personal obligations that prevent them from performing their everyday duties.
  • Places are inaccessible because of infrastructure damage, life-safety, or health-safety reasons, which prevents the use of these vital locations that enable everyday working and learning.
  • Things (e.g., critical application, communication resources, and equipment) may be damaged or inoperable, which affects the availability of everyday resources that facilitate working and learning.

How can my division, department, or unit overcome the impact of an emergency while meeting the needs of employees and students?

Continuity planning considers what’s most essential and identifies realistic strategies for overcoming the absence of a key person, place, or thing. Steps are offered to aid in the continuity planning process.

Step 1: Identify essential processes.

Step 2: Identify primary people, places, and things needed to perform the essential process on an everyday basis.

Everyday Operations: People, Places, and Things

Step 3: Identify secondary and alternate People, Places, and Things to step in when everyday operations is interrupted and when Continuity of Operations strategies are needed.  

Continuity of Operations: People, Places, and Things

Step 4: Complete the COOP plan template to document how essential processes continue in an emergency.


How can my department enhance readiness and continuity preparedness?

Several options are available to guide your through plan development:

  • The COOP E-Tool walks you step-by-step to make a custom continuity plan (coming soon!)
  • Continuity Tips and Strategies Handout offers ways to proactively identify secondary and alternate people, places, and things.
  • Alternate Space Requirements Tool examines space requirements to assist in relocating essential processes, services, or operations to an alternate facility.
  • General Readiness Questions facilitate a group discussion about an organization’s essential processes and strategies to overcome the absence People, Places, and Things.

COOP Plan Maintenance

Maintaining your Department/School Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan

Annually, the departmental continuity planner should make necessary updates to the plan.

Criteria that warrant an update to the COOP plan:

  • Have organizational changes, priorities, or other factors impacted what’s considered essential processes for your department/school?
  • Have personnel changes occurred that impact the Primary or Backup individuals for each essential process?
  • Have software, equipment, or other resources used to perform the essential processes changed?
  • Does the plan still reflect the most appropriate continuity strategies?
  • Are there new or changed just-in-time instructions that should be added or amended?
  • Is the contact roster up to date?

Please notate your changes, in the Record of Change section, for historical and awareness purposes.

Once changes are made, what are the next steps?

To ensure personnel are aware of changes, please:

  • Notify newly appointed continuity personnel and share the plan electronically.
  • Schedule a meeting to discuss the plan and continuity strategies.
  • Take the steps necessary to implement new or existing continuity strategies.
  • Provide a copy of the plan to the Office of Emergency Management Continuity Program Manager.

Questions about continuity planning?

Please send an email to and a member of the UMB Office of Emergency Management will contact you.