Phases of Emergency Management

When a disaster strikes, the overall authority for directing emergency operations rests with the director of public safety, and managing the activities within the Emergency Operations Center rests with the coordinator of emergency planning. The Emergency Operations Center is a centralized command center where resources can be directed toward the disaster / emergency situation through a coordinated effort. Our work is conducted under what is referred to as the four phases of Emergency Management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Each of these four phases is described in detail below, including examples of activities for each phase.


Mitigation activities are undertaken to eliminate or reduce the chance of an occurrence or the effects of a disaster. Examples of mitigation tasks include:

  • Undertaking legislative efforts such as hazardous material facility accident prevention programs and flood plain management programs
  • Conducting public outreach programs through the community / civic organizations, service organizations, articles, or at public events


Preparedness activities include developing plans to enhance response capabilities and conducting exercises to assess response efficiencies. Examples of preparedness tasks include:

  • Identifying vulnerable areas exposed to risk-generating sources such as nuclear plants, hazardous material facilities, and waterways
  • Identifying special populations which need assistance in receiving warnings and/or following through with protective actions
  • Conducting / participating in a variety of exercises scheduled each year


Response activities are designed to provide the public with emergency assistance. Examples of response activities include:

  • Monitoring disaster agents
  • Predicting the impact of a disaster agent (where, when, and to what degree)
  • Notifying other authorities and agencies
  • Issuing public warnings through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio stations
  • Coordinating services and resources of various agencies to address the needs of the public


Recovery activities are performed to return the community to normal or near normal through relief operations. Recovery is divided into two parts: public property relief and individual relief.

Examples of recovery operations under public (government) property relief include restoring utilities, clearing and restoring roads, and restoring public buildings to provide necessary services.

Examples of recovery operations under individual (citizen) relief include providing food, housing, and grants and loans.