The Four Phases of Emergency Management
The department’s logo describes the four phases of Emergency Management and its ongoing process.
"Preparedness" is conducted before a disaster occurs in order to build emergency management capacity. It has three elements: the development of emergency response plans; training on our plans and possible hazards, practicing at putting the plans into effect (exercises); and public education. Preparedness planning seeks to anticipate problems and project possible solutions to minimize disaster damage.
"Response" activities provide emergency assistance to save lives, preserve property and protect the environment. A goal of all emergency responders is to reduce the probability of additional injuries or damage, and to start the recovery process as soon as possible.
"Recovery" is the process of returning systems to normal levels, such as replacing a bridge that was washed away by flooding, or long term cleanup after a storm. Some activities can be accomplished in the short term, such as adding gravel to washed out roads; while other activities take years, such as rebuilding a community.
"Mitigation" activities normally occur before an emergency or disaster, or directly on the heels of a disaster. Such activities include installing sirens, adopting flood plain and/or zoning regulations, and creating building codes that include plans for storm shelters. The primary purpose for mitigation is to eliminate or reduce the probability of a disaster, such as a chemical spill or flood. It will include action to postpone, dissipate or lessen the effects of the disaster.