Four Phases Of Emergency Management

Sarpy County

Sarpy County Emergency Management operates within the "Four Phases of Emergency Management"

Four Phases of Emergency Management

The Comprehensive Emergency Management Program is divided into the following four separate but related phases.


Mitigation is any action “determined to be cost-effective which substantially reduces the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by a major disaster” (Stafford Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended, Sec 404). Proactive mitigation (to reduce the likelihood or lessen the potential effects of disasters) programs include flood plain management, fire prevention, building codes and development of structural standards, land-use regulations and advocacy with urban planning and zoning commissions to factor emergency management considerations into community design. Reactive mitigation (to reduce effects based on past experience) programs include flood insurance, disaster preparedness improvement grants, and development of predictive models of damage based on past experience. Mitigation is the foundation of an all hazards, risk-based emergency management program. It saves lives, reduces property damage, and helps to preserve the economy in the disaster area, thus reducing disaster assistance costs.


Preparedness is planning how to respond should an emergency or disaster occur, and working to increase resources and the ability to respond effectively. Preparedness involves actions that will improve the speed and coordination of the response to an emergency or disaster. Planning, forming emergency organizations, training and exercising are all preparedness activities. Emergency Management assists state and local government agencies and private sector organizations to develop plans for natural disasters such as floods or winter storms and technological emergencies such as hazardous materials incidents. Public awareness and information outreach programs that change seasonal focus throughout the year are significant campaigns by state and local emergency management agencies. Disaster preparedness exercises, ranging from tabletop activities to full-scale simulations of disaster situations involving several counties, responder organizations, elected officials and others should be conducted to assure that proposed plans and coordination activities will work. Additional preparedness activities ensure that effective communication systems, operating facilities, and specialized equipment are in place to support emergency response and recovery operations. Communication and/or urgent information to the public are vitally important in an emergency.


Response actions cover the period of time shortly before, during and after a disaster, during which activities are conducted to save lives and minimize damage. Activation of the local and State Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), search and rescue, and reception and care of disaster victims are some of the response actions. During this period, emergency coordination functions are generally carried out in the local and State EOCs. The EOC houses representatives of each department and organization involved in response activities in order to ensure cohesive response to the situation and to ensure the public is given concise, meaningful and timely information regarding the disaster.


Recovery is that period when the immediate threat to life and property has passed. Activities such as cleanup, repair, and restoration become a priority. This stage will continue until all life support systems are returned to normal or near-normal operations. Debris clearance, damage assessment, and reconstruction are some recovery measures. Local, State and Federal damage assessment teams, as the situation dictates, may survey damaged areas. The local emergency manager is generally expected to work closely with the teams to ensure swift completion of the assessment process. On-site Disaster Centers may be established within affected communities. These centers provide a convenient place for victims to meet with representatives who can help them solve problems.

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