Continuity of Operations
Resource Management: Additional Information
If You Only Have a Little Time
If you don’t have a lot of time, focus your efforts on completing steps 1 – 3. Map your current resource allocation model in a work session with your incident command staff. Look for easy improvements that will help you quickly acquire the resources you need while preserving the continuity of critical services. Make a goal of documenting this process in your emergency operations standard operating procedures (SOP) and training staff on this new process, when time permits. Working through this element of planning will save time and improve decision-making during emergency responses.
If You Have More Time to Spend
After an emergency occurs, you may find you have to start dipping into resources that sustain your Priority 1 and 2 services. Or, you may find that once you’ve exhausted your on-hand resources, you don’t have a lot of surge capacity without having to ask for state or federal assistance. To prevent scenarios like these, invest additional time and resources to develop methods for surging your available resources in response to an emergency or continuity event: develop stockpiles, establish emergency contracts, negotiate memoranda of understanding (MOUs), develop volunteer corps, etc.
Where This Leads You
Completion of this tool could lead you to identify other needed improvements in your emergency resource management procedures, such as enhancements to your resource request tracking system.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Don’t skip steps. When using your new resource allocation model during an emergency, take time to consider each decision point to ensure you meet the resource need at the lowest level, least cost, and with the least disruption to your mission-critical services.
How You Know You Got It Right
If you sustain a prolonged, resource-intensive response (for example, the Fall 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak) and are able to maintain the continuity of your mission-critical services throughout, congratulations, you got it right!
Considerations for Rural Health Departments
If you are a rural health department, you may deplete your resources more rapidly. Therefore, your resource allocation model should direct staff to simultaneously pursue two potential options for filling a resource need, whenever possible. For example, if your LHD doesn’t have a large volunteer pool, make sure to establish in your protocols that when a staffing need emerges, you will mobilize volunteers while simultaneously beginning the activation of a mutual aid agreement, in case volunteers are unavailable. This approach allows for a backup if one method doesn’t pan out. It also saves time – reducing the total time required to fill the staffing request.