Prevention focuses on preventing human hazards, primarily from potential natural disasters or terrorist (both physical and biological) attacks. Preventive measures are designed to provide more permanent protection from disasters; however, not all disasters can be prevented. The risk of loss of life and injury can be limited with good evacuation plans, environmental planning and design standards.
Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action. Training and exercising plans is the cornerstone of preparedness which focuses on readiness to respond to all-hazards incidents and emergencies.
Response is comprised of the coordination and management of resources (including personnel, equipment, and supplies) utilizing the Incident Command System in an all-hazards approach; and measures taken for life/property/environmental safety. The response phase is a reaction to the occurrence of a catastrophic disaster or emergency.
Recovery consists of those activities that continue beyond the emergency period to restore critical community functions and begin to manage stabilization efforts. The recovery phase begins immediately after the threat to human life has subsided. The goal of the recovery phase is to bring the affected area back to some degree of normalcy.
Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters and emergencies. Mitigation involves structural and non-structural measures taken to limit the impact of disasters and emergencies. Structural mitigation actions change the characteristics of buildings or the environment; examples include flood control projects, raising building elevations, and clearing areas around structures. Non-structural mitigation most often entails adopting or changing building codes.