GEOG 858
Spatial Data Science for Emergency Management

The Four Stages of Emergency Management


four stages of emergency management are Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. They are described in more detail below.

The improvement of the built and social environment in order to reduce, withstand or prevent disaster impacts.

  • Hazard Analysis
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Scenario Development
  • Community Engagement and Education
  • Planning and Infrastructure Work

Actions taken prior to a disaster with the intent of ensuring a better event response

  • Planning
  • Training and Exercises
  • Logistics
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Agency and stakeholder coordination
  • Provide information and tools to citizens

Actions taken immediately before, during and after an event to alleviate suffering and prepare for recovery

  • Establish Situational Awareness
  • Evacuations and Shelters
  • Respond to remaining hazard
  • Search and Rescue
  • Mass Care
  • Logistics response
  • Initiate Recovery

The rebuilding or improvement of disaster-affected areas

  • Debris Management
  • Return essential services
  • Food and water
  • Temporary housing
  • Economic assistance
  • Insurance claims and rebuilding
  • Business aid
The Four Stages of Emergency Management
Definitions from the Tomaszewski (2014) textbook
Credit: © Penn State is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

It is generally agreed upon that there are four key stages of emergency management problems.

  • Planning & Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

You can probably imagine a wide array of possible geospatial applications that would make sense for each of these stages of emergency management. Lesson 2 in this class will talk about hazards more generally, and then, in Lessons 3-6, we'll start a deep dive into how geospatial perspectives and technologies can be used in these four stages. In Lessons 7-9, we'll explore scenarios and cover a few case studies to see how geospatial analysis has been used in real-world emergency situations.

Here are brief definitions for each stage of emergency management:

Planning & Mitigation: Evaluation of the potential types of disasters and the development of plans for reducing their probability or their impact on life & resources.

Preparedness: Actions undertaken when mitigation efforts have not prevented or are unable to prevent a disaster from taking place. 

Response: Activities that occur in the wake of a disaster that are intended to identify and assist victims and stabilize the overall disaster situation.

Recovery: Actions following a disaster that aim to restore human and environmental systems back to normal.