The Disaster Life Cycle

The disaster life cycle has four phases:

1. Mitigation

Actions taken to prevent future emergencies and/or minimize their negative effects:

  • Identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities
  • Reduce the likelihood that hazards will become disasters:
  • Earthquake retrofitting or flood-proofing of buildings and
  • Buying insurance


2. Preparedness

Actions taken in advance of emergencies that help individuals and communities get ready:

  • Make an emergency plan
  • Assemble an emergency kit
  • Organize and train volunteers
  • Staying informed about natural and human-caused disasters, changing conditions and events


3. Response

Actions taken in the midst of or immediately following an emergency:

  • Efforts to save lives and to prevent further property damage
  • Putting pre-established disaster preparedness plans into motion


4. Recovery

Actions taken after the initial response phase, when damages have been assessed:

  • Return the affected community to its pre-disaster state or better
  • Make community less vulnerable to future risk:
  • Building repairs and upgrades
  • Restore services
  • Education, training, and public awareness campaigns