Sustaining Critical Services - Continuity of Operations - A Toolkit for Public Health

Continuity of Operations

Managing Resources Across the Response-Continuity Continuum


This tool shares resources to help your local health department (LHD) optimize your use of scarce resources to meet the needs of an emergency response while preserving the continuity of critical services. In addition, this tool will help agencies forecast when higher-order support or activation of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) may be needed. It will also enable agencies to fulfill emergency resource requests efficiently: at the lowest level, with the least cost.

This tool is primarily designed for health departments which have an on-site Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that receives and fulfills resource requests. If your agency does not operate an EOC, this tool can assist you in processing resource requests your agency receives from the county/regional EOC, or requests for mutual aid.

Tools and Samples

Aid the user in working through the toolkit we have broken out the following documents into two formats that we hope you will find helpful.

Tools: Documents that are ready to be used with little to no modification needed. They are designed to be off-the-shelf products that can be completed and used in your individual planning process.

Samples:  Documents that we have created in order to help guide you through completing the above referenced tools. They contain both real world and hypothetical scenarios that we have utilized to illustrate how the tool can look once it is completed.

Resource Allocation Model (Blank Worksheet)

Resource Request Flow Chart

Resource Allocation Model

Continuity Response Resource Needs

FEMA Continuity Evaluation Tool - Version 6, “Operational Phases and Implementation,” pages 48-55

If done properly, completion of this tool should result in:

  • Completion of a resource allocation model for your agency.
  • Reflection of this updated decision-making model in your emergency operations standard operating procedures.

What You Need Before Starting This Work

  • Your emergency operations standard operating procedures for filling a resource request. (See PHSKC’s resource request process as an example.)
  • Familiarity with the types and quantities of resources that are commonly requested during emergencies, based on past experience.


Steps to Completion

  1. Complete the resource allocation model based on the current patterns of decision-making at your agency.
  2. Draw from the sample steps listed on the form or add your own.
  3. Assess your agency’s current process for filling an emergency resource request, asking the following questions:
    1. Are there additional strategies you can leverage for acquiring emergency resources?
    2. Should you pursue options in a different order than you typically do?
    3. Are you actively considering your ability to continue delivering critical services, as you evaluate and fill the resource requests? View PHSKC’s resource allocation model as an example of a large urban health department’s approach.

  4. If the current decision-making model doesn’t optimize your use of resources across the continuity / response continuum, collaborate with colleagues to identify potential improvements and tweak the model.

  5. Update your emergency operations SOP to reflect the new resource allocation decision-making model. If the new procedure process represents a substantial change from past practice, train staff involved in emergency response and continuity operations on the new procedure.