The Disaster Cycle

Preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation are the disaster cycle

EMT team provide first aid on the street
Medical assistance is provided during the response phase of the disaster cycle. LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

The disaster cycle or the disaster life cycle consists of the steps that emergency managers take in planning for and responding to disasters. Each step in the disaster cycle correlates to part of the ongoing cycle that is emergency management. This disaster cycle is used throughout the emergency management community, from the local to the national and international levels and it is:

  • Mitigation: Minimizing the effects
  • Preparedness: Planning the response
  • Response: Efforts to minimize hazards that were created by the disaster
  • Recovery: Returning the community back to normal with relief

Starting the Disaster Cycle Again

Finally, using the lessons learned from the response, recovery, and mitigation phases of the disaster the emergency manager and government officials return to the preparedness phase and revise their plans and their understanding of the material and human resources needs for a particular disaster in their community.