- Mitigation is sustained activities and measures aimed at eliminating or reducing the long-term risk of property damage and loss of life from hazards and their effects. Because mitigation involves reducing risk, it can occur before or after an emergency or disaster when plans are put into action to minimize or eliminate damage. Mitigation also can involve educating businesses and the public in simple measures they can take to reduce loss and injury.
- Cost-effective mitigation measures are the key to reducing disaster losses in the long term. In hazard-prone areas, mitigation can break the cycle of having to rebuild and rebuild again with every recurrence. There is also a need for planning to take advantage of mitigation opportunities in the aftermath of an emergency or disaster, when hazard awareness is high, funds may become available, and disruption of the status quo makes it possible to rethink design and location of some facilities and infrastructure. Attention to mitigation opportunities can make safer communities for us all.
Building the Emergency Management profession to effectively prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from any hazard by planning, training, and exercising.
- Since emergencies often evolve rapidly and become too complex for effective improvisation, a government can successfully discharge its Emergency Management responsibilities only by taking certain actions before hand. This is preparedness. For citizens, protective planning and preparation is likewise critical prior to a calamity and is termed preparedness.
- Preparedness involves establishing authorities and responsibilities for emergency actions and garnering the resources to support them: a jurisdiction must assign or recruit staff for Emergency Management duties and designate or procure facilities, equipment, and other resources for carrying out assigned duties. This investment requires upkeep: maintenance of facilities and equipment, use of forecasting and warning systems, training of staff, and other activities.
- Accordingly, preparedness measures should not be improvised. A key element of preparedness is the development of plans that link the many aspects of a jurisdiction's commitment to Emergency Management.
Conducting emergency operations to save lives and property by positioning emergency equipment and supplies; evacuating potential victims; providing food, water, shelter, and medical care to those in need; and restoring critical public services.
- The onset of an emergency creates a need for time-sensitive actions to save lives and property, as well as for action to begin stabilizing the situation so that the jurisdiction can regroup. Such response actions include notifying Emergency Management personnel of the crises, warning and evacuating or sheltering the population if possible, keeping the population informed, rescuing individuals and providing medical treatment, maintaining the rule of law, assessing damage, addressing mitigation issues that arise from response activities, and even requesting help from outside the jurisdiction.
Rebuilding communities so individuals, businesses, and governments can function on their own, return to normal life, and protect against future hazards.
- Recovery is the effort to restore infrastructure and the social and economic life of a community to normal, but it should incorporate mitigation as a goal. For the short term, recovery may mean bringing necessary lifeline systems up to an acceptable standard while providing for basic human needs and ensuring that the social needs of individuals and the community are met. Once some stability is achieved, the jurisdiction can begin recovery efforts for the long term, restoring economic activity and rebuilding community facilities and family housing with attention to long-term mitigation needs.