An emergency operations plan should be reviewed for usefulness, ability to achieve a successful response, and its compliance to applicable regulations. According to FEMA, there are five commonly used criteria to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency operations plans.
- Adequacy: Decision makers’ need to apply their experience, judgment, intuition, situational awareness, and discretion to ensure a plan is adequately suited for identified hazards. FEMA defines a plan as adequate if:
a. The scope and concept of planned operations identify and address critical tasks effectively
b. The plan can accomplish the assigned mission while complying with guidance
c. The plan’s assumptions are valid, reasonable, and comply with guidance.
- Feasibility: The procedures established should be rigorous enough, yet standardized, to minimize subjectivity and preclude oversights in order to accomplish the assigned mission and critical tasks. This should be accomplished by using available resources within the minimum time frame set forth by the plan. Available resources include internal assets and those available through mutual aid, private contractors, or through existing state, regional, or Federal assistance agreements.
- Acceptable: The plan meets the requirements driven by a threat or incident, goals set by decision makers, budgetary restraints, response time limitations, and abides by applicable law(s).
- Completeness: The plan includes all applicable and effective emergency procedures with estimated response times, required capabilities, needs of the population, and identified success criteria.
- Compliance: The plan should comply with all internal and external guiding doctrine within the boundaries of the presiding law(s). Failure to comply with regulations can result in additional financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perception, and possibly government-mandated shutdown of operations.
For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.