In the aftermath of major storms, many municipalities find that their continuity of operations planning could benefit from some outside expertise.

Berlin, Connecticut, steps up its continuity of operations planning

This past December, town officials from Berlin, Connecticut, met to revise their continuity of operations planning following its recent struggles in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, which hit the town this August. Following the storm, Berlin officials found that its existing plan needed revision, as parts of the town were without power, and even the officials themselves admitted there was confusion about how they should have been operating in the wake of the destruction, according to an article from Berlin Patch.

Earlier this year, the town officials formed an official Disaster Preparedness Committee, but the initiative was quickly tested by Irene and also Winter Storm Alfred, which hit the town in October.

This committee was meant to supplement other initiatives such as the Local Emergency Planning Committee, which only meets twice a year.

Since then, the town has taken steps to ensure its functioning during future disasters, which included a plan for keeping operations up and running and the announcement that it would invest in a hot site. On December 9, the officials furthered these plans by adapting business continuity contracts that outline how they are supposed to proceed with their operations in light of disaster, the media outlet reported.

"We'll have a five-year maintenance plan, and we'll also stage a disaster every year," Kate Wall, the town clerk, told the news source. "We'll do that so we can see what works and what doesn't work. Then if we have a disaster, we'll be able to pick up town hall and move it someplace else and operate out of another building or operate under really bad circumstances."

Municipalities that are attempting to draft continuity of operations planning initiatives may benefit from securing outside assistance before a disaster. By working with an experienced consulting firm, for instance, town officials may have been better prepared to meet the challenges it faced the first time around.