Continuity Planning

Planning & Preparedness

Continuity Banner

This webpage provides guidance and direction to local, state, federal agencies, tribal governments, the private sector and other non-government organizations as it relates to continuity planning. These efforts include the following:

  • ​Plans and procedures that delineate essential business functions;
  • Assessment of threats, risk and vulnerabilities to essential business functions;
  • Specify succession to office and emergency delegation of authority;
  • Incident Action Decision Making Process;
  • Provide for the safekeeping and access to essential records and databases;
  • Identify alternate operating facilities and strategies;
  • Provide for continuity communications/information technology redundancy;

  • Provide for human resources planning;

  • Validate capabilities through test, training, and exercise (TT&E) programs;

  • Specify devolution of control and direction;

  • Provide for reconstitution and recovery; and
    Outreach tools and continuity planning links.


Enhance organizational/community resilience that plays a critical role in managing threats to essential business functions today and far into the future. Resilience can be defined as the ability of an organization/community core business functions to rapidly adapt and respond to internal or external dynamic changes, business opportunities, demands, disruptions or threats.

Continuity resilience must encompass business as well as information technology operations and recognize the importance of partnerships and interrelationships. It can be thought of as spanning six discrete layers:

1) Strategic planning and procedures;

2) Organization/community (people);

3) Core business processes;

4) Communications and information technology (systems/applications),

5) Essential/vital records (data/records management)

6) Facilities and security.

This layered approach is scalable and applicable to individual organizations and communities as a whole.
Continuity cannot occur without the commitment and dedication of many partners who play integral roles in providing critical business functions and vital services throughout California. As part of each organization’s continuity planning and identification of its essential business functions, it is critical that each organization clearly identify its partners, and in particular, those supplies, products, information, and other inputs the organization receives from partners that are vital to the organization/community’s ability to accomplish its essential business functions.  


​Continuity Planning for Pandemic Influenza

Pandemic influenza demands an additional set of Continuity planning considerations. Unlike traditional Continuity planning, pandemic influenza may be widely dispersed geographically and will potentially arrive in waves that could last several months at a time. While a pandemic will not directly damage facilities, power lines, banks or computer networks, it will ultimately threaten all critical infrastructure by removing essential personnel from the workplace for weeks or months. This makes a pandemic a unique circumstance necessitating a strategy that extends well beyond the public health and medical considerations, to include the sustainment of critical infrastructure, private-sector activities, the movement of goods and services across the nation and the globe, and economic and security considerations.

State agencies are encouraged to develop an annex to their existing Continuity plans that adequately address issues such as increased absenteeism, social distancing procedures, and impacts on interdependencies. The resources below are some of the best examples for guiding an organization in developing and formalizing a strategy for responding to a public health emergency. 

Continuity Pandemic Flu Resources

Business Preparedness Framework for Pandemic Influenza

FEMA COOP Multi-Year Strategy and Program Management Plan Template Guide

National Pandemic Influenza Plans

Pandemic Influenza Brochure



Key Elements of Pandemic Plans Elements of Pandemic Plans.pdfKey Elements of Pandemic PlansContinuity Pandemic Flu Resource Pamphlets2/28/2020 10:54:28 PM
Pandemic Influenza Plan Template Influenza Plan TemplateContinuity Pandemic Flu Resource Pamphlets11/4/2020 7:51:32 PM

State Continuity Program Guidance

The updated California Continuity Planning Guidance and Plan Template (December 2009) provides direction to the State executive branch agencies for developing continuity plans and programs. Continuity planning facilitates the performance of executive branch essential functions during all-hazards emergencies or other situations that may disrupt normal operations. The ultimate goal of Continuity Planning is to ensure that the State of California is able to continue its vital governmental services and operations under all conditions. For this to take place, state agencies must have plans in place to carry out their departmental essential functions without interruption.

The Governor, through Executive Order S-04-06, expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Executive Branch agencies and departments are ready to respond and recover from natural and man-made incidents. Based on the Executive Order’s reference to “update COOP/COG Plans,” the ongoing expectation is that State agencies/departments will continue to maintain their plans. As a result, Cal OES offers guidance and tools to enable executive branch agencies / departments to enhance and maintain their continuity plans.
The planning resources and tools included in this program can be used whether an organization is starting from the very beginning of the planning process or merely updating plans already in place. However, Executive Order S-04-06 requires that the plans developed or updated by state agencies and departments be consistent with the guidelines promulgated by CAL OES. 

A letter dated December 14, 2009 was sent to Agency Secretaries announcing the availability of the revised Continuity Guidelines. A copy of this letter is also attached below. 



Continuity Planning Guidance 2019 Word Doc Planning Guidance 2019 Word DocContinuity Program Guidance Documents5/29/2019 6:12:32 PM
Continuity Planning Guidance 2019 PDF Doc Planning Guidance 2019 PDF DocContinuity Program Guidance Documents12/23/2019 5:40:46 PM
Continuity Planning Guidance All-Hazard Pocket Guide Pocket Guide 2015_Final-10Sep2015.pdfContinuity Planning Guidance All-Hazard Pocket GuideMust print in "Booklet" format to print correctly.Continuity Program Guidance Documents6/17/2019 8:42:45 PM
Continuity Planning Executive Summary 2014 Summary_2014.pdfContinuity Planning Executive Summary 2014Continuity Program Guidance Documents6/17/2019 8:42:38 PM
S-04-06 Executive Order Executive Order.pdfS-04-06 Executive OrderContinuity Program Guidance Documents12/19/2019 7:55:34 PM

​​Continuity Action Planning Process

This Incident Command System (ICS) planning process helps establish Management by Objective (MBO) and operational priorities. This process becomes the roadmap for implementation by addressing five critical elements in re-establishing essential business functions within 12 hours of activation.

Achieve a proactive response by providing a decision making process for the Senior Activation Team (SAT) in establishing an Action Plan within the first 4 hours.

The Planning "P" illustrates the incident planning process for the initial operational period and/or related continuity phases:

  1. Readiness and Preparedness

  2. Activation and Relocation

  3. Continuity Operations

  4. Reconstitution and Recovery

Continuity Initial Action Planning Process 

​Statewide Continuity Initiative Survey

Cal OES's Statewide Continuity Initiative Survey is designed to help develop future continuity programs throughout California.

Cal OES is seeking feedback from your agency or department regarding your continuity training and exercise needs, as well as general information regarding your continuity plan. Therefore, we are asking Continuity Managers, Emergency Planners, and/or other appropriate management to complete a short continuity survey located at the following link:

Continuity Survey

Most of the significant changes in the State Continuity Program are due to the incorporation of new emphases and concepts from the revised federal continuity guidelines. They include the following:

• Historically, the federal government defined continuity efforts using the terms “COOP” and “COG.” These were often separate and compartmentalized activities. This old organizational framework has changed and the new emphasis is reflected throughout the updated California Continuity Planning Guide. As recommended in the updated federal continuity directives, California now uses the reference to “Continuity Planning” as an overlapping integration of continuity of operations and continuity of government concepts.

• Risk Management, as an essential tool in continuity planning, has been incorporated. In the face of multiple and diverse catastrophic possibilities, it is accepted that risk-a function of threats, vulnerabilities, consequences-is a permanent condition. Applying a disciplined approach to managing risk will help to achieve best progress, long term success, and overall effectiveness and efficiency.

• Changes in terminology include: the use of “Continuity Facilities” instead of “Alternate Operating Facilities”, and “Continuity Communications” rather than “Interoperable Communications.”

• The creation of a “continuity readiness posture” is promoted, similar to the federal executive branch’s Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) system that establishes readiness levels in order to provide a flexible and coordinated response to escalating threat levels or actual emergencies.

• An additional phase is added to the previously described continuity operational phases. The phases are now: readiness and preparedness (new), activation and relocation, continuity operations, and reconstitution.

The other changes in the updated Guide include:

    • Lists of State Continuity Objectives and State Essential Functions (SEF).
    • Recommendations for addressing the similar planning requirements of Continuity Planning and Technology Recovery Planning (TRP), formerly known as Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
    • A discussion of the similarities between government and business models of continuity.
    • An introduction of the new Continuity Planning Self-Certification Program (explained below), which promotes the regular update of state agency Continuity Plans.

​Continuity Planning Maintenance for State Agency

Cal OES announces a new maintenance program initiative in the updated Continuity Guidance. Continuity plans and programs are dynamic and require regular updating to reflect any changes in the organization (e.g., staffing, structure, functions, equipment, communications, leadership, and resources). In order to ensure that baseline of capability in all the key planning element areas, a Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist has been created and included in the Continuity Planning Guide. The Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist is a self-certification that an agency has developed and is maintaining a continuity plan that reflects the most current state and federal continuity planning standards and best practices. The Checklist documents the organization’s Continuity Program and Plan status.

Beginning in 2010, the Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist is to be completed by the agency’s continuity planning team and signed by the secretary/director. The Continuity Plan Approvals page is used to indicate that the organization's senior level officials have read the Continuity Plan and understand their roles and responsibilities should the organization's business essential functions be disrupted. The Checklist should then be mailed to CAL OES according to the Continuity Planning Guidance Document. Schedule for submission is contained within the guidance and provided for quick reference below.

***State continuity guidance requires that state agencies and departments evaluate and update COOP/COG plans and submit completed Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklists on an annual basis. Due to the more frequent and complicated emergencies experienced in California, often involving multiple counties and regions of the state, our State Agency partners have been stretched thin on resources and staff.  

Due to the increased demand, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is not requiring our partners to submit their plans or Evaluation Checklists until January of 2023. We still strongly encourage state agencies and departments to continue to review all continuity plans and use all evaluation methods to ensure California’s resiliency. 



Continuity Plan Evaluation Checklist 2021 Plan Evaluation Checklist 2021.docContinuity Plan Evaluation Checklist 2021Continuity Planning Maintenance for State Agency2/23/2021 9:41:33 PM
Continuity Maintenance Program FAQ 2021 2021.pdfContinuity Maintenance Program FAQ 2021Continuity Planning Maintenance for State Agency2/23/2021 9:44:00 PM
Schedule for Submission of Continuity Plans for Submission of Continuity Plans.pdfSchedule for Submission of Continuity PlansContinuity Planning Maintenance for State Agency8/8/2018 10:41:04 PM

​Continuity Training

It is essential that a Continuity Training, Testing and Exercise Program be developed, implemented and maintained to ensure the integrity of the various emergency planning documents included in the agency Continuity Program. A training strategy should be developed which addresses five critical questions:

1. Who should be trained?
2. What tasks should they be trained to perform?
3. Which training instruction/delivery methods should be utilized to maximize success?
4. What methods are most capable of evaluating competency and performance upon completion of the training?
5. How will gaps in knowledge and application be identified, documented and remedied in future training opportunities?

​Continuity Training

Please note:   IS-546a Continuity of Operations Awareness Course (Retired) replaced with IS-1300
                         IS-547a Introduction to Continuity of Operations (Retired) replaced with IS-1300

IS-1300: Introduction to Continuity of Operations
This course is intended to lay the foundation of knowledge for students who wish to increase their understanding of continuity and building a comprehensive continuity program in their organization or jurisdiction. Replaces 546a and 547a.

NPD Online Course Catalog Search (OCC) - Used in the development of Continuity Multi-Year T&E Programs

Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas (IS-520) 1 Hour

Reconstitution Planning Course (IS-545)



Analyzing Risks Disruption Scenarios Continuity Paper Risks Disruption Scenarios Continuity PaperContinuity Discussion Papers10/26/2018 7:19:09 PM
Business Impact Analysis Discussion Paper Impact Analysis Discussion PaperContinuity Discussion Papers10/24/2018 5:36:51 PM
Continuity A Consolidated Approach Discussion Paper A Consolidated Approach Discussion PaperContinuity Discussion Papers10/25/2018 9:11:54 PM
Continuity Pandemic Influenza Planning Discussion_2008 Pandemic Influenza Planning Discussion_2008Continuity Discussion Papers10/26/2018 7:17:58 PM
Continuity Discussion-Executive Command and Control Discussion-Executive Command and ControlContinuity Discussion Papers10/26/2018 7:20:20 PM
Continuity Rating Prioritizing and Organization's Functions_2008 Rating Prioritizing and Organization's Functions_2008Continuity Discussion Papers10/26/2018 7:21:42 PM
Business Continuity Template Ver. 1.0 Continuity Plan Template Ver. 1.0.docxBusiness Continuity Template Ver. 1.0Continuity Downloads and Templates12/8/2016 9:39:24 PM
Continuity Planning Guidance and Plan Template 2009 Planning Guidance and Plan Template 2009Continuity Downloads and Templates3/26/2015 4:03:35 PM
Continuity Planning Program Description 2009 Planning Program Description 2009Continuity Downloads and Templates3/26/2015 3:15:31 PM
Continuity Exercise Handbook Doc_v2.docxContinuity Exercise HandbookContinuity Exercise HandbookContinuity Exercise Support Documents7/29/2016 8:21:13 PM

​​​Contact Us  

Jeff Newman
(916) 845-8829

As the State Continuity Program continues to evolve, additional development tools and aids will be added to the website. Training courses will also be posted as they come available.

Questions concerning the Continuity Planning can also be directed to the following email address: 


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