What is Emergency Management?

Phases of Emergency Management

Emergency Management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.


Actions taken to prevent or reduce the cause, impact, and consequences of disasters.

Example: Constructing sea walls to protect from tidal waves, having alternative sources of electricity, or alternative communication systems in place. 

Prevention activities should be happening all the time!


Activities that attempt to lessen the impacts of a disaster. The impacts include the damage to property and the effect of the disaster on the individual, family, business, and community as a whole.

Example: Not building in a flood plain. To see if your location is in an established flood plain, enter your address into FEMA's Flood Map portal.


Actions taken to plan, organize, train, and equip response activities. Preparedness is a continuous process of evaluating and improving a community's ability to prevent and protect (mitigate), respond to, and recover from disaster.

Example: Creating a home or office severe weather plan, or learning about the potential hazards that may impact your community.


Actions that are taken during or immediately following a disaster or emergency. These actions include the mobilization of emergency services, first responders, and activation of the Emergency Operations Center when necessary.

Example: Knowing the appropriate response to best protect yourself in an emergency situation. Do you know the difference between Sheltering-In-Place vs. Evacuation?


Activities that continue beyond the initial disaster response phase. Recovery focuses on restoring critical community functions to normal and managing reconstruction. Rebuilding efforts include mitigation practices to reduce risk for the future.

Example: Coping with the physical and emotional impact of disaster-related loss, stress, and trauma. See the KnoWhat2Do Disaster Recovery resources.