Moving Forward by Looking Back – Part 5 of 5
Advances in Preservation and Safety since the 1973 Fire
Records Emergency Response Plans (RERP)
NARA Directive 1561.8 states that record emergency preparedness and recovery response planning is a documented process to prepare for threat of damage by fire, water, chemical or biological contamination, or other causes, in order to mitigate any damage to the extent possible. It directs all NARA facilities to keep an updated plan for their individual facility to assist in preparingin advance to prevent and limit damage to records. When records are damaged, the guidance on the response and recovery techniques limit damage to records and allow more records to be saved. The directive dictates which staff can respondas soon as it is safe to enter the area after an emergency and recoverrecords or cultural property damaged by the emergency. These comprehensive plans include designation of records emergency management teams (REMT), Team Leaders (TL), in addition to those who have media contact and/or purchasing authority. The plan should be updated on a continual basis, in order to maintain current and correct contact information for all staff members, and update procedures and agency policies; training should be provided to staff on a regular basis, as well.
Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)
Continuity of operations is essentialfor 1 Archives Drive. Many veterans and others depend on our services on a daily basis, and even small interruptions in our processes can cause a huge break in business functions. This was made evident following the storm and tornado damage that knocked out power to our building in early June. On a larger scale, the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) provides for NARA’s operations to continue should we have a disaster forcing agencies to shut down.
There are four phases of Continuity of Operations Activation:
Phase I – Readiness and Preparedness.
Phase II – Activation: plans, procedures, and schedules to transfer activities, personnel, records, and equipment to alternate facilities are activated.
Phase III – Continuity Operations: full execution of essential operations at alternate operating facilities is commenced.
Phase IV – Reconstitution: operations at alternate facility are terminated and normal operations resume.
NARA employees from across the agency are involved in this plan, many of them from 1 Archives Drive. This year, the COOP plan was tested and evaluated, with 235 assigned continuity personnel participating. With an 80% success rating in 13 out of 13 categories, the NARA COOP plan received a rating of Green, the highest level possible.