Emergency management does not just involve the response after a disaster has occurred. In fact, there are five main steps of disaster preparedness and emergency management: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
Connect Consulting Services describes the elements of each of these steps in a thorough article, stating that the cycle includes:
- Prevention: This involves focusing on classes and specialized training for communities to ensure they can either decrease the likelihood of a disaster or prepare themselves in case one happens.
- Mitigation: On the healthcare level, this is the act of having enough resources to protect communities in the event of a disaster.
- Preparedness: This includes training and activities that allow individuals to simulate what could happen in the event of an emergency or disaster.
- Response: This is how organizations talk about the disaster that has happened or will happen in the future. It derives from the preparation stage and implements new policies when communities are threatened.
- Recovery: This means restoring institutions and facilities to the way they used to be before the disaster or emergency. Things might not be the same, but they will be similar.
This cycle is a continuous process. As individuals become more prepared, they become better at preventing certain outcomes and facilitating recovery to start sooner.
What Is the National Preparedness System?
According to FEMA, “the National Preparedness System outlines an organized process for everyone in the whole community to move forward with their preparedness activities and achieve the National Preparedness Goal.”
This system comprises six components that contribute to the preparedness and management of all communities within the United States. FEMA designates that these components include:
- Identifying and assessing risks
- Estimating capability requirements
- Building and sustaining capabilities
- Planning to deliver capabilities
- Validating capabilities
- Reviewing and updating
FEMA helps each community evaluate the risks and preparedness goals, depending on their region of origin. Those living on the West Coast will have different risks and goals than those living on the East Coast or Midwest regions of the U.S. Each area has different natural disasters that threaten the lives of community members, meaning their emergencies will fall under unique categories.
Types of Disasters and Hazards That Are Considered Emergencies
As society continues to advance, more disasters and hazards will occur — and will be considered emergency threats to communities across the nation.
In a comprehensive guidebook to emergency preparedness, FEMA states that “the Strategic National Risk Assessment indicates that a wide range of threats and hazards continue to pose a significant risk to the nation, affirming the need for an all-hazards, capability-based approach to preparedness planning.” These threats include:
- Natural hazards such as weather-related disasters throughout the different regions, as well as hazards that result from climate change
- Pandemics that threaten the health and well-being of multiple individuals at one time
- Technological hazards that can cause mass panic regarding the safety and security of communities
- Terrorist organizations that seek to harm the livelihood of a governing body or nation
- Cyber-attacks that have the potential to shut down the country’s capabilities to function
Such disasters can cause significant setbacks within communities and even change the dynamics of society. Therefore, having the tools in place to prevent situations that threaten society is an important aspect of disaster preparedness and emergency management.
Enter This Profession With a Master’s Degree
One way to prepare yourself and others for future emergencies is by furthering your career in the field of science and earn your Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Graduates of the M.S. in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management online program at Arkansas State University will support large and small communities during natural catastrophes.
Graduates will recognize the warning signs of each disaster preparedness and emergency management step to actively apply their knowledge and ultimately save lives. You will be educated on the hazards, risks and theories of various disasters and emergencies and how to distinguish between each type.
In as few as 12 months, you will learn how to prevent, mitigate and oversee crises resulting from natural disasters involving severe weather and other events. Each future disaster or emergency manager will obtain the knowledge necessary to provide relief to the communities they serve in times of crisis.