Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)

As the University pursues research and academic excellence, ensuring that individual departments and units are prepared to respond to various types of operational disruptions is imperative. Continuity planning will help your department or unit formulate a strategy not only for major disasters (e.g. total loss of a building) but also lesser disruptions to service (e.g. internet / network outage). Developing a continuity of operations plan ensures that your department or unit can overcome the crisis in a quicker and smoother manner than those units without a plan.


Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plans are intended to guide departments, divisions, and the University as a whole in the continued provisions of essential operations and the re-establishment of critical business functions during and after a disaster occurs. Continuity planning is a critical piece of overall emergency management which encompasses prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery from a disaster.

Continuity plans should, at a minimum, address the following disruptions:

  • Loss of access to a facility (e.g. structural damage)
  • Interruption in service due to a reduced workforce (e.g. pandemic)
  • Interruption in service due to equipment or systems failure (e.g. IT systems failure, disruption in electric, water, or heat services)


Not sure if your department should develop a continuity plan? Does your department have a stake in:

  • Academics and instruction
  • Student support
  • Healthcare
  • Research
  • Critical business, finance and / or infrastructure operations

All University departments, including satellite facilities outside of Greenville, should participate in continuity planning. A few examples of departmental essential functions include:

  • Delivering instruction
  • Providing dining services
  • Maintaining basic utilities (e.g. sewer, water, electricity)
  • Preserving sensitive research materials
  • Performing certain fiscal activities
  • The Office of Internal Audit performs audits of continuity plans annually

Plan Contents

COOP plans are comprised of information which allows a department / unit to continue critical functions during and after a disaster. Typically, the duration of a continuity planning period is 30 days or less. A departmental COOP plan may be comprised of the following components:

  • Identification of Critical Functions
  • Succession of Leadership
  • Delegation of Authorities
  • Communication Plan
  • Vital Data, Systems and Equipment
  • Upstream and Downstream Dependencies
  • Key Resources


  1. Identify risks to your department / unit;
  2. identify how those risks would impact your department/unit;
  3. plan for how to prevent / cope with the impact;
  4. practice those workarounds; and
  5. annually review your plan.

For assistance in developing or updating a COOP plan for your department / unit, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 328-6166 or email

ECU Ready

The departmental COOP plan template has now been integrated into a system called ECU Ready. ECU Ready provides direction and aids in outlining responsibilities and procedures for re-establishing services.

This tool is easy-to-use and requires no advance training. However, we strongly recommend that you begin by contacting EH&S, who will provide you with guidance and context.

If you are ready to get started and develop your ECU Ready continuity plan, please contact EH&S at 328-6166 or email to set up your plan.

EH&S also has a PowerPoint presentation to assist in developing a continuity plan.