The Four Phases of Disaster Management

Disaster management involves four steps: preparation, mitigation, response and recovery. Proper implementation can help companies avoid losses quickly while recovering quickly from disasters.

Disaster-management leaders strive to mitigate risk before disaster strikes by identifying potential hazards and creating safeguards to combat them, such as cutting down trees that could collapse onto buildings or creating flood-prevention structures.


Disaster management begins with prevention and mitigation strategies. This may involve identifying potential hazards, developing safeguards and providing education about any dangers which could impact communities. Other steps might include setting up emergency warning systems, planning contingency plans, coordinating procedures or stockpiling supplies and equipment.

Not all disasters can be avoided entirely, but disaster risk reduction strategies can reduce their impacts and make communities more resilient. Deferred maintenance and neglect that led to New Orleans levee failures during Hurricane Katrina can be addressed through disaster risk reduction measures.

Prepare yourself to prevent, mitigate and respond to disasters by creating and practicing your personal emergency plan with family or friends. Consider enrolling in an advanced degree program like University of Central Florida’s Online Graduate Emergency and Crisis Management Master’s program designed to equip graduates for these roles.


Mitigation refers to taking steps to safeguard people and property while decreasing risks and consequences associated with disaster. Not all hazards can be eliminated completely, however measures such as evacuation plans, environmental planning guidelines, and design standards can help limit their effects [1].

Mitigation is an ongoing and essential aspect of disaster management. It involves designing policies to either modify the causes or minimize effects of disasters on individuals, communities, and infrastructure. Mitigation plays an integral part of disaster response as it reduces our vulnerability to catastrophic events while helping us “build back better” after an emergency strikes. Furthermore, an all-hazards approach ensures our efforts do not increase vulnerability against other risks; mitigation provides us with another important way of doing that.


Response phase disaster management comprises actions taken to contain and restore order immediately following a catastrophic event, according to Statoil. This includes minimizing loss of life and property as well as helping communities reestablish normality through reconstruction and rehabilitation shortly afterwards.

At this stage, disaster-management leaders address the contributing factors to an event. This may involve taking corrective actions when deferred infrastructure maintenance was the culprit – such as when Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed New Orleans’ poorly maintained levees.

Effective disaster management leadership involves several essential skills. One way to develop these is through enrolling in an online leadership and management course such as the American Nurses Association’s Certificate of Specialized Knowledge in Emergency Management (CSEM), while another strategy would be enrolling in either an undergraduate degree program or graduate-degree program with an emphasis on emergency or disaster management, which often provides classes on risk evaluation, mitigation strategies and emergency planning as well as emergency response plans.


Recovery phase of disaster management entails restoring critical community functions and overseeing stabilization efforts, typically beginning as soon as the threat to human life has subsided, continuing into long-term operations to assist communities in rebuilding from any impacts caused by an emergency event or natural disaster.

Develop disaster recovery (DR) plans is an integral component of disaster management for any organization. A DR plan serves as the strategic document and process an organization adheres to in order to restore access to critical systems and IT infrastructure following a disaster or other business disruption event.

An effective disaster recovery (DR) plan includes conducting a business impact analysis (BIA), which helps identify the critical systems and data essential for recovering operations in the aftermath of a disaster or disruption. A thorough BIA helps develop IT priorities, recovery time objectives and backup frequency objectives as well as determine when backups should occur.

Your Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of members of your DR team. Testing should take place regularly to ensure it works effectively in case of real disaster.

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