Emergency Management is the organized community-wide planning, decision making, assignment and coordination of available resources to the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters or emergencies of any kind.
Effective Emergency Management involves four major areas of responsibility:
MITIGATION activities which eliminate or reduce the vulnerability of the community to damage to property or the environment, injury, and loss of life and property resulting from a natural, or technological (man made disaster).
PREPARATION to provide rapid, efficient and coordinated response and recovery actions to protect life, property and the environment.
RESPONSE to emergencies or disasters using all systems, plans and resources available in the community. These activities help reduce casualties and damage, and speed recovery.
RECOVERY from emergencies or disasters by providing rapid and coordinated restoration and rehabilitation services.
Recovery is both a short-term and long-term process. In the short-term, recovery operations seek to restore vital services to the community and provide for the basic needs of the public. Long-term recovery focuses on restoring the community to its normal, or improved, state of affairs.
The recovery period is also an opportunity to institute mitigation measures to lessen the vulnerability of future disasters. The phases are cyclical – all activities and experiences lead back to the mitigation phase. We learn to prevent or lessen the impact of future emergencies by what we learn from past occurrences.
The Emergency Management Team
When disaster strikes, the various resource providers in the Emergency Management Team share the responsibility for utilizing resources to effectively respond to and recovery from its effects. This team includes federal, state and local government agencies, disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army, and private sector organizations such as hospitals and utilities. While state and federal governments have emergency response capabilities and resources, initial response in an emergency or disaster is the responsibility of local government.