During the early stages of the pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked our experts to develop a framework that any organization could use to plan for a safe return to work. We delivered the Exercise Starter Kit for Workshop on Reconstituting Operations.
Released in early May 2020 and available to download on FEMA’s website, the Exercise Starter Kit distills reconstitution planning principles and White House-issued reopening guidelines into an actionable framework. Organizations of all sizes—from government agencies, to corporations, to small businesses and nonprofits—can use the kit to assess their current status and develop their own roadmap for a safe and phased reopening.
During a pandemic as serious and widespread as COVID-19, there is no one-size-fits-all reconstitution plan. Every organization must determine how to resume normal operations without jeopardizing anyone’s safety or threatening the viability of the enterprise. And most organizations, even those well-versed in responding to crises, need an actionable framework to structure virtual planning sessions in a manner that will result in the development of an effective reconstitution plan.
To provide this framework, and under the National Exercise Division’s request, Booz Allen worked closely with FEMA’s internal and external stakeholders. Our goal was to help organizations apply relevant health and safety guidance to their operations and develop their own criteria for a safe return. We also wanted to force users to focus on the most salient questions: What is our mission? What do we need to achieve it while protecting our employees? How do we bring people back safely?
The FEMA Exercise Starter Kit is a suite of customizable materials that organizations can use to facilitate virtual planning workshops with internal experts (e.g., occupational safety and health officials, human resources staff, financial officers, legal counsel). It empowers participants to identify the safety issues and logistics concerns that are unique to their organization. The outcome is a reconstitution plan specific to that organization’s employees, customers, and operational model but flexible enough stay relevant as the challenges posed by COVID-19 and guidance issued by federal and local governments continue to evolve.
The Exercise Starter Kit for Workshop on Reconstituting Operations epitomizes FEMA’s mission to help Americans “prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters.” Since its launch, Booz Allen worked with FEMA to launch a second starter kit that organizations can use to plan for the unique and heightened dangers that hurricane season poses during a pandemic.