4 Phases of a Comprehensive Emergency Management Program:
Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. If communities cannot prevent disasters, they can at least reduce the damaging impact. For example, preventing new construction in floodplains can reduce the chance of flooded homes. Effective mitigation efforts can break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
Preparedness is planning how to respond when an emergency or disaster occurs and working to marshal the resources to respond effectively. These activities help save lives and minimize damage by preparing people to respond appropriately when an emergency is imminent or hits. To respond properly, a jurisdiction must have a plan for response, trained personnel to respond, and necessary resources with which to respond.
Response is the third phase of emergency management and covers the period during and immediately following a disaster. During this phase, public officials provide emergency assistance to victims of the event and try to reduce the likelihood of further damage. Our Fire Departments, Police Departments, Rescue Squads, and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) units are first responders. Various other agencies supplement first responders with support resources.
Recovery is the final phase and continues until all systems return to normal or near-normal operation. Short-term recovery restores vital life-support systems to minimum operating conditions. Long-term recovery may go on for months-even years-until the entire disaster area returns to its previous condition or undergoes improvement with new features that are less disaster-prone. For example, a town can relocate portions of its flood-prone community and turn the area into open space or parkland. This illustrates how recovery can provide opportunities to mitigate future disasters.