Emergency management
Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disaster
A disaster is a natural or man-made hazard that has come to fruition, resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment...

s or catastrophe
A catastrophe is an extremely large-scale disaster, a horrible event.It may also refer to:*Catastrophe bond, a risk-linked security used to share risks with bond investors*Catastrophe , a non-fiction book by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann...

s and to ensure the continuance of the organization within their planned lifetime.


Emergencies, Disasters, and Catastrophes are not gradients, they are separate, distinct problems that require distinct strategies of response. Disasters are events distinguished from everyday emergencies by four factors: Organizations are forced into more and different kinds of interactions than normal; Organizations lose some of their normal autonomy; Performance standards change, and; More coordinated public sector/private sector relationships are required.

Catastrophes are distinct from disasters in that: Most or all of the community built structure is heavily impacted; Local officials are unable to undertake their usual work roles; Most, if not all, of the everyday community functions are sharply and simultaneously interrupted, and; Help from nearby communities cannot be provided.

Assets are categorized as either living things, non-living things, cultural or economic. Hazards are categorized by their cause, either natural or human-made. The entire strategic management process is divided into four fields to aid in identification of the processes. The four fields normally deal with risk reduction, preparing resources to respond to the hazard, responding to the actual damage caused by the hazard and limiting further damage (e.g., emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

, quarantine
Quarantine is compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous, often but not always disease. The word comes from the Italian quarantena, meaning forty-day period....

, mass decontamination
Mass decontamination
Mass decontamination is the decontamination of large numbers of people, in the event of industrial, accidental, or intentional contamination by toxic, infective, caustic, polluted, or otherwise unhealthful or damaging substances....

, etc.), and returning as close as possible to the state before the hazard incident. The field occurs in both the public and private sector, sharing the same processes, but with different focuses.

Emergency Management is a strategic process, and not a tactic
Tactic may refer to:*Military tactics*Chess tactic*Tactic , a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz*Tactics , an Australian band*Tactics , a Japanese visual novel studio*TACTIC , a U.S...

al process, thus it usually resides at the Executive level in an organization. It normally has no direct power, but serves as an advisory or coordinating function to ensure that all parts of an organization are focused on the common goal. Effective Emergency Management relies on a thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels of the organization, and an understanding that the lowest levels of the organization are responsible for managing the emergency and getting additional resources and assistance from the upper levels.

The most senior person in the organization administering the program is normally called an Emergency Manager, or a derived form based upon the term used in the field (e.g. Business Continuity Manager).

Fields that are under this definition include:
  • Civil Defense (used in the United States during the Cold War
    Cold War
    The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

    , focusing on protection from nuclear attack)
  • Civil Protection (widely used with the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

  • Crisis Management
    Crisis management
    Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a major event that threatens to harm the organization, its stakeholders, or the general public. The study of crisis management originated with the large scale industrial and environmental disasters in the 1980's.Shrivastava, P....

     (emphasizes the political and security dimension rather than measure to satisfy the immediate needs of the civilian population).
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
    Disaster risk reduction
    Disaster Risk Reduction is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them: here it has been strongly influenced by the...

     (focus on the mitigation and preparedness aspects of the emergency cycle.) (see Preparedness below)
  • Homeland Security
    Homeland security
    Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do...

     (used in the United States, focusing on preventing terrorism)
  • Business Continuity
    Business continuity
    Business continuity is the activity performed by an organization to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, and other entities that must have access to those functions. These activities include many daily chores such as project management,...

     and Business Continuity Planning
    Business continuity planning
    Business continuity planning “identifies [an] organization's exposure to internal and external threats and synthesizes hard and soft assets to provide effective prevention and recovery for the organization, whilst maintaining competitive advantage and value system integrity”. It is also called...

     (focused on ensuring a continuous upward trend of income)
  • Continuity of Government
    Continuity of government
    Continuity of government is the principle of establishing defined procedures that allow a government to continue its essential operations in case of nuclear war or other catastrophic event....

Phases and professional activities

The nature of management depends on local economic and social conditions. Some disaster relief experts such as Fred Cuny
Fred Cuny
Frederick C. Cuny was an American disaster relief specialist who was active in many humanitarian projects around the world from 1969 until his forced disappearance in Chechnya in 1995.-Life and career:...

 have noted that in a sense the only real disasters are economic. Experts, such as Cuny, have long noted that the cycle of Emergency Management must include long-term work on infrastructure, public awareness, and even human justice issues.
The process of Emergency Management involves four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Recently the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have adopted the terms "resilience" and "prevention" as part of the paradigm of EM. The latter term was mandated by PKEMA 2006 as statute enacted in October 2006 and made effective March 31, 2007. The two terms definitions do not fit easily as separate phases. Prevention is 100% mitigation, by definition. Resilience describes the goal of the four phases: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.


Mitigation efforts are attempts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether or to reduce the effects of disasters. Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. This is achieved through risk analysis, which results in information that provides a foundation for mitigation activities that reduce risk, and flood insurance that protects financial investment,. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases in that it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk. The implementation of mitigation strategies is a part of the recovery process if applied after a disaster occurs.

Mitigation measures can be structural or non-structural. Structural measures use technological solutions like flood levees and building retrofitting for earthquakes. Non-structural measures include legislation, land-use planning (e.g. the designation of non-essential land like parks to be used as flood zones), and insurance.

Mitigation is the most cost-efficient method for reducing the effect of hazards although not always the most suitable. Mitigation includes providing regulations regarding evacuation, sanctions against those who refuse to obey the regulations (such as mandatory evacuations), and communication of risks to the public. Some structural mitigation measures may harm the ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....


A precursor to mitigation is the identification of risks. Physical risk assessment
Risk assessment
Risk assessment is a step in a risk management procedure. Risk assessment is the determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognized threat...

 refers to identifying and evaluating hazards. The hazard-specific risk () combines a hazard's probability and effects. The equation below states that the hazard multiplied by the populations’ vulnerability to that hazard produces a risk Catastrophe modeling
Catastrophe modeling
Catastrophe modeling is the process of using computer-assisted calculations to estimate the losses that could be sustained due to a catastrophic event such as a hurricane or earthquake...

. The higher the risk, the more urgent that the vulnerabilities to the hazard are targeted by mitigation and preparedness. If, however, there is no vulnerability then there will be no risk, e.g. an earthquake occurring in a desert where nobody lives.


Preparedness is how we change behavior to limit the impact of disaster events on people. Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, creating, evaluating, monitoring and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities of concerned organizations to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, create resources and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

In the preparedness phase, emergency managers develop plans of action carefully to manage and counter their risks and take action to build the necessary capabilities needed to implement such plans. Common preparedness measures include:
  • communication plans with easily understandable terminology and methods.
  • proper maintenance and training of emergency services, including mass human resources such as community emergency response team
    Community Emergency Response Team
    In the United States a community emergency response team can refer to* one of five federal programs promoted under the umbrella organization Citizen Corps, which is funded in part by the Stafford Act;...

  • development and exercise of emergency population warning
    Emergency population warning
    An emergency population warning is a method whereby local, regional, or national authorities can contact members of the public en masse to warn them of an impending emergency...

     methods combined with emergency shelter
    Emergency shelter
    Emergency shelters are places for people to live temporarily when they can't live in their previous residence, similar to homeless shelters. The main difference is that an emergency shelter typically specializes in people fleeing a specific type of situation, such as natural or man-made disasters,...

    s and evacuation plan
    Emergency evacuation
    Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

  • stockpiling
    A stockpile is a pile or storage location for bulk materials, forming part of the bulk material handling process.Stockpiles are used in many different areas, such as in a port, refinery or manufacturing facility. The stockpile is normally created by a stacker. A reclaimer is used to recover the...

    , inventory, streamline foods supplies, and maintain other disaster supplies and equipment.
  • develop organizations of trained volunteers among civilian populations. Professional emergency workers are rapidly overwhelmed in mass emergencies so trained, organized, responsible volunteers are extremely valuable. Organizations like Community Emergency Response Team
    Community Emergency Response Team
    In the United States a community emergency response team can refer to* one of five federal programs promoted under the umbrella organization Citizen Corps, which is funded in part by the Stafford Act;...

    s and the Red Cross are ready sources of trained volunteers. The latter's emergency management system has gotten high ratings from both California, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...


Another aspect of preparedness is casualty prediction
Casualty prediction
Casualty prediction is the science of predicting the number of deaths or injuries that may result from an epidemic, natural disaster or act of war such as the explosion of a nuclear weapon, chemical weapon or biological weapon...

, the study of how many deaths or injuries to expect for a given kind of event. This gives planners an idea of what resources need to be in place to respond to a particular kind of event.

Emergency Managers in the planning phase should be flexible, and all encompassing – carefully recognizing the risks and exposures of their respective regions and employing unconventional, and atypical means of support. Depending on the region – municipal, or private sector emergency services can rapidly be depleted and heavily taxed. Non-governmental organizations that offer desired resources, i.e., transportation of displaced home-owners to be conducted by local school district buses, evacuation of flood victims to be performed by mutual aide agreements between fire departments and rescue squads, should be identified early in planning stages, and practiced with regularity.


The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency service
Emergency service
Emergency services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergencies. Some agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ad hoc emergencies as part of their normal responsibilities...

s and first responders in the disaster area
Disaster area
A disaster area is a region or a locale heavily damaged by either natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war. The population living there often...

. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighter
Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained primarily to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, to rescue people from car incidents, collapsed and burning buildings and other such situations...

s, police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 and ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

 crews. When conducted as a military operation, it is termed Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) and can be a follow-up to a Non-combatant evacuation operation
Non-combatant Evacuation Operation
A non-combatant evacuation operation or NEO is an operation conducted to evacuate civilians from another country, generally due to a deteriorating security situation.-United States:...

 (NEO). They may be supported by a number of secondary emergency services, such as specialist rescue teams.

A well rehearsed emergency plan developed as part of the preparedness phase enables efficient coordination of rescue.
Where required, search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 efforts commence at an early stage. Depending on injuries sustained by the victim, outside temperature, and victim access to air and water, the vast majority of those affected by a disaster will die within 72 hours after impact.

Organizational response to any significant disaster – natural or terrorist-borne – is based on existing emergency management organizational systems and processes: the Federal Response Plan (FRP) and the Incident Command System (ICS). These systems are solidified through the principles of Unified Command (UC) and Mutual Aid (MA)

There is a need for both discipline (structure, doctrine, process) and agility (creativity, improvisation, adaptability) in responding to a disaster. There is also the need to onboard
Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders...

 and build an effective leadership team quickly to coordinate and manage efforts as they grow beyond first responders. The leader and team must formulate and implement a disciplined, iterative set of response plans, allowing initial coordinated responses that are vaguely right, adapting to new information and changes in circumstances as they arise.


The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure.

Efforts should be made to "build back better", aiming to reduce the pre-disaster risks inherent in the community and infrastructure. An important aspect of effective recovery efforts is taking advantage of a ‘window of opportunity’ for the implementation of mitigative measures that might otherwise be unpopular. Citizens of the affected area are more likely to accept more mitigative changes when a recent disaster is in fresh memory.

In the United States, the National Response Plan
National Response Plan
The National Response Plan was a United States national plan to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. It came into effect in December 2004 , and was superseded by the National Response Framework on March 22, 2008....

 dictates how the resources provided by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 will be used in recovery efforts. It is the Federal government that often provides the most technical and financial assistance for recovery efforts in the United States.


Personal mitigation is mainly about knowing and avoiding unnecessary risks. This includes an assessment of possible risks to personal/family health and to personal property.

One example of mitigation would be to avoid buying property that is exposed to hazards or waste, e.g., in a flood plain, in areas of subsidence
Subsidence is the motion of a surface as it shifts downward relative to a datum such as sea-level. The opposite of subsidence is uplift, which results in an increase in elevation...

 or landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

s. Home owners may not be aware of a property being exposed to a hazard until it strikes. However, specialists can be hired to conduct risk identification and assessment surveys. Purchase of insurance covering the most prominent identified risks is a common measure.

Personal structural mitigation in earthquake prone areas includes installation of an Earthquake Valve
Earthquake Valve
An earthquake valve or seismic valve is an automatic way to shut off the low pressure regulated gas supply to a structure during a major earthquake and/or if a pipe is broken. These are applicable both to utility supplied natural gas and to gaseous liquified petroleum gas...

 to instantly shut off the natural gas supply to a property, seismic retrofit
Seismic retrofit
Seismic retrofitting is the modification of existing structures to make them more resistant to seismic activity, ground motion, or soil failure due to earthquakes. With better understanding of seismic demand on structures and with our recent experiences with large earthquakes near urban centers,...

s of property and the securing of items inside a building to enhance household seismic safety. The latter may include the mounting of furniture, refrigerator
A refrigerator is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room...

s, water heaters and breakables to the walls, and the addition of cabinet latches. In flood prone areas houses can be built on poles/stilts, as in much of southern Asia. In areas prone to prolonged electricity black-outs installation of a generator
Electrical generator
In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...

 would be an example of an optimal structural mitigation measure. The construction of storm cellar
Storm cellar
A storm shelter or storm cellar is a type of underground bunker designed to protect the occupants from violent severe weather, particularly tornadoes...

s and fallout shelter
Fallout shelter
A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War....

s are further examples of personal mitigative actions.

Mitigation involves Structural and Non-structural measures taken to limit the impact of disasters.

Structural Mitigation:-
This involves proper layout of building, particularly to make it resistant to disasters.

Non Structural Mitigation:-
This involves measures taken other than improving the structure of building.


Personal preparedness focuses on preparing equipment and procedures for use when a disaster occurs, i.e., planning. Preparedness measures can take many forms including the construction of shelters, installation of warning devices, creation of back-up life-line services (e.g., power, water, sewage), and rehearsing evacuation plans.

Two simple measures can help prepare the individual for sitting out the event or evacuating, as necessary. For evacuation, a disaster supplies kit may be prepared and for sheltering purposes a stockpile of supplies may be created. The preparation of a survival kit such as a "72-hour kit
Bug-out bag
A bug-out bag is a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours when evacuating from a disaster. It is also known as a 72-hour kit, a grab bag, a battle box, and other popular names include "Personal Emergency Relocation Kits" GO Bag and GOOD bag...

", is often advocated by authorities. These kits may include food, medicine, flashlights, candles and money. Also, putting valuable items in safe area is also recommended.


The response phase of an emergency may commence with search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 but in all cases the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic humanitarian needs
Basic needs
The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty. It attempts to define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being, usually in terms of consumption goods. The poverty line is then defined as the amount of income...

 of the affected population. This assistance may be provided by national or international agencies and organisations. Effective coordination of disaster assistance is often crucial, particularly when many organizations respond and local emergency management agency (LEMA) capacity has been exceeded by the demand or diminished by the disaster itself.

On a personal level the response can take the shape either of a shelter in place
Shelter in Place
Shelter in place is a process for taking immediate shelter in a location readily accessible to the affected individual by sealing a single area from outside contaminants and shutting off all HVAC systems. These actions would generally be taken after a chemical accident or terrorist attack...

or an evacuation
Emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

. In a shelter-in-place scenario, a family would be prepared to fend for themselves in their home for many days without any form of outside support. In an evacuation, a family leaves the area by automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 or other mode of transportation, taking with them the maximum amount of supplies they can carry, possibly including a tent for shelter. If mechanical transportation is not available, evacuation on foot would ideally include carrying at least three days of supplies and rain-tight bedding, a tarpaulin
A tarpaulin, colloquially tarp, is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with urethane, or made of plastics such as polyethylene. In some places such as Australia, and in military slang, a tarp may be known as a...

 and a bedroll of blankets being the minimum.


The recovery phase starts after the immediate threat to human life has subsided. During reconstruction it is recommended to consider the location or construction material of the property.

The most extreme home confinement scenarios include war, famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 and severe epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

s and may last a year or more. Then recovery will take place inside the home. Planners for these events usually buy bulk
-Industry:* Bulk cargo* Bulk liquids* Bulk mail* Bulk material handling* Bulk pack, packaged bulk materials/products* Bulk purchasing- Physics :*Bulk density*Bulk modulus...

 foods and appropriate storage and preparation equipment, and eat the food as part of normal life. A simple balanced diet can be constructed from vitamin
A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Thus, the term is conditional both on...

 pills, whole-meal wheat, beans, dried milk, corn, and cooking oil
Cooking oil
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature ....

. One should add vegetables, fruits, spices and meats, both prepared and fresh-gardened, when possible.

As a profession

Emergency managers are trained in a wide variety of disciplines that support them throughout the emergency life-cycle. Professional emergency managers can focus on government and community preparedness (Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government Planning), or private business preparedness (Business Continuity Management Planning
Business continuity planning
Business continuity planning “identifies [an] organization's exposure to internal and external threats and synthesizes hard and soft assets to provide effective prevention and recovery for the organization, whilst maintaining competitive advantage and value system integrity”. It is also called...

). Training is provided by local, state, federal and private organizations and ranges from public information and media relations to high-level incident command and tactical skills such as studying a terrorist bombing site or controlling an emergency scene.

In the past, the field of emergency management has been populated mostly by people with a military or first responder background. Currently, the population in the field has become more diverse, with many experts coming from a variety of backgrounds without military or first responder history. Educational opportunities are increasing for those seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees in emergency management or a related field. There are over 180 schools in the US with emergency management-related programs, but only one doctoral program specifically in emergency management.

Professional certifications such as Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) are becoming more common as the need for high professional standards is recognized by the emergency management community, especially in the United States. Professional emergency management organizations should also be utilized by professional in this field. These organizations allow for professional networking and the sharing of information related to emergency management. The National Emergency Management Association and the International Association of Emergency Managers are two examples of these professional organizations.

Principles of Emergency Management

In 2007, Dr. Wayne Blanchard of FEMA’s Emergency Management Higher Education Project, at the direction of Dr. Cortez Lawrence, Superintendent of FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, convened a working group of emergency management practitioners and academics to consider principles of emergency management. This project was prompted by the realization that while numerous books, articles and papers referred to “principles of emergency management,” nowhere in the vast array of literature on the subject was there an agreed-upon definition of what these principles were. The group agreed on eight principles that will be used to guide the development of a doctrine of emergency management. The summary provided below lists these eight principles and provides a brief description of each.

Principles: Emergency management must be:
  1. Comprehensive – emergency managers consider and take into account all hazards, all phases, all stakeholders and all impacts relevant to disasters.
  2. Progressive – emergency managers anticipate future disasters and take preventive and preparatory measures to build disaster-resistant and disaster-resilient communities.
  3. Risk-driven – emergency managers use sound risk management principles (hazard identification, risk analysis, and impact analysis) in assigning priorities and resources.
  4. Integrated – emergency managers ensure unity of effort among all levels of government and all elements of a community.
  5. Collaborative – emergency managers create and sustain broad and sincere relationships among individuals and organizations to encourage trust, advocate a team atmosphere, build consensus, and facilitate communication.
  6. Coordinated – emergency managers synchronize the activities of all relevant stakeholders to achieve a common purpose.
  7. Flexible – emergency managers use creative and innovative approaches in solving disaster challenges.
  8. Professional – emergency managers value a science and knowledge-based approach; based on education, training, experience, ethical practice, public stewardship and continuous improvement.

A fuller description of these principles can be found at Principles of Emergency Management


In recent years the continuity feature of emergency management has resulted in a new concept, Emergency Management Information System
Emergency Management Information System
Emergency Management Information System is a computer database for disaster response that provides graphical, real-time information to responders.-EMIS and emergencies:...

s (EMIS). For continuity and interoperability between emergency management stakeholders, EMIS supports the emergency management process by providing an infrastructure that integrates emergency plans at all levels of government and non-government involvement and by utilizing the management of all related resources (including human and other resources) for all four phases of emergencies. In the healthcare field, hospitals utilize HICS (Hospital Incident Command System) which provides structure and organization in a clearly defined chain of command with set responsibilities for each division.

Within other professions

Practitioners in emergency management (disaster preparedness) come from an increasing variety of backgrounds as the field matures. Professionals from memory institutions (e.g., museums, historical societies, libraries, and archives) are dedicated to preserving cultural heritage—objects and records contained in their collections. This has been an increasingly major component within these field as a result of the heightened awareness following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the hurricanes in 2005
2005 Atlantic hurricane season
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, repeatedly shattering numerous records. The impact of the season was widespread and ruinous with an estimated 3,913 deaths and record damage of about $159.2 billion...

, and the collapse of the Cologne Archives.

To increase the opportunity for a successful recovery of valuable records, a well-established and thoroughly tested plan must be developed. This plan must not be overly complex, but rather emphasize simplicity in order to aid in response and recovery. As an example of the simplicity, employees should perform similar tasks in the response and recovery phase that they perform under normal conditions. It should also include mitigation strategies such as the installation of sprinklers within the institution. This task requires the cooperation of a well-organized committee led by an experienced chairperson. Professional associations schedule regular workshops and hold focus sessions at annual conferences to keep individuals up to date with tools and resources in practice in order to minimize risk and maximize recovery.


The joint efforts of professional associations and cultural heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

 institutions have resulted in the development of a variety of different tools to assist professionals in preparing disaster and recovery plans. In many cases, these tools are made available to external users. Also frequently available on websites are plan templates created by existing organizations, which may be helpful to any committee or group preparing a disaster plan or updating an existing plan. While each organization will need to formulate plans and tools which meet their own specific needs, there are some examples of such tools that might represent useful starting points in the planning process. These have been included in the External Links section.

In 2009, the US Agency for International Development created a web-based tool for estimating populations impacted by disasters. Called Population Explorer the tool uses Landscan population data, developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy by UT-Battelle. ORNL is the DOE's largest science and energy laboratory. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville...

, to distribute population at a resolution 1 km2 for all countries in the world. Used by USAID's FEWS NET Project to estimate populations vulnerable and or impacted by food insecurity, Population Explorer is gaining wide use in a range of emergency analysis and response actions, including estimating populations impacted by floods in Central America and a Pacific Ocean Tsunami event in 2009.

In 2007, a checklist for veterinarians pondering participation in emergency response was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, it had two sections of questions for a professional to ask themselves before assisting with an emergency:

Absolute requirements for participation:
  • Have I chosen to participate?
  • Have I taken ICS training?
  • Have I taken other required background courses?
  • Have I made arrangements with my practice to deploy?
  • Have I made arrangements with my family?

Incident Participation:
  • Have I been invited to participate?
  • Are my skill sets a match for the mission?
  • Can I access just-in-time training to refresh skills or acquire needed new skills?
  • Is this a self-support mission?
  • Do I have supplies needed for three to five days of self support?

While written for veterinarians, this checklist is applicable for any professional to consider before assisting with an emergency.

International Association of Emergency Managers

The International Association of Emergency Managers
International Association of Emergency Managers
The International Association of Emergency Managers is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting the goals of saving lives and protecting property during emergencies and disasters.-IAEM's Vision:...

 (IAEM) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting the goals of saving lives and protecting property during emergencies and disasters. The mission of IAEM is to serve its members by providing information, networking and professional opportunities, and to advance the emergency management profession.

It currently has seven Councils around the World: Asia, Canada, Europa, International, Oceania, Student and USA.

The Air Force Emergency Management Association (www.af-em.org, www.3e9x1.com, and www.afema.org), affiliated by membership with the IAEM, provides emergency management information and networking for US Air Force Emergency Managers.

Red Cross/Red Crescent

National Red Cross/Red Crescent societies often have pivotal roles in responding to emergencies. Additionally, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a humanitarian institution that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the ICRC and 186 distinct National Societies...

 (IFRC, or "The Federation") may deploy assessment teams, e.g. Field Assessment and Coordination Team – (FACT) to the affected country if requested by the national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. After having assessed the needs Emergency Response Units (ERUs) may be deployed to the affected country or region. They are specialized in the response component of the emergency management framework.

United Nations

Within the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 system responsibility for emergency response rests with the Resident Coordinator within the affected country. However, in practice international response will be coordinated, if requested by the affected country’s government, by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs , is a United Nations body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182...

 (UN-OCHA), by deploying a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team.

World Bank

Since 1980, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 has approved more than 500 operations related to disaster management, amounting to more than US$40 billion. These include post-disaster reconstruction projects, as well as projects with components aimed at preventing and mitigating disaster impacts, in countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Haiti, India, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam to name only a few.

Common areas of focus for prevention and mitigation projects include forest fire prevention measures, such as early warning measures and education campaigns to discourage farmers from slash and burn agriculture that ignites forest fires; early-warning systems for hurricanes; flood prevention mechanisms, ranging from shore protection and terracing in rural areas to adaptation of production; and earthquake-prone construction.

In a joint venture with Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 under the umbrella of the ProVention Consortium the World Bank has established a Global Risk Analysis of Natural Disaster Hotspots.

In June 2006, the World Bank established the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a longer term partnership with other aid donors to reduce disaster losses by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in development, in support of the Hyogo Framework of Action. The facility helps developing countries fund development projects and programs that enhance local capacities for disaster prevention and emergency preparedness.

European Union

Since 2001, the EU adopted Community Mechanism for Civil Protection which started to play a significant role on the global scene. Mechanism's main role is to facilitate co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions in the event of major emergencies which may require urgent response actions. This applies also to situations where there may be an imminent threat of such major emergencies.

The heart of the Mechanism is the Monitoring and Information Centre. It is part of Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection of the European Commission and accessible 24 hours a day. It gives countries access to a platform, to a one-stop-shop of civil protection means available amongst the all the participating states. Any country inside or outside the Union affected by a major disaster can make an appeal for assistance through the MIC. It acts as a communication hub at headquarters level between participating states, the affected country and despatched field experts. It also provides useful and updated information on the actual status of an ongoing emergency.

International Recovery Platform

The International Recovery Platform (IRP) was conceived at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan in January 2005. As a thematic platform of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) system, IRP is a key pillar for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005–2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, a global plan for disaster risk reduction for the decade adopted by 168 governments at the WCDR.

The key role of IRP is to identify gaps and constraints experienced in post disaster recovery and to serve as a catalyst for the development of tools, resources, and capacity for resilient recovery. IRP aims to be an international source of knowledge on good recovery practice.


Natural disasters are part of life in Australia. Drought occurs on average every 3 out of 10 years and associated heatwaves have killed more Australians than any other type of natural disaster in the 20th century.
Flooding is historically the most costly disaster with average losses estimated at $400 Million a year. It’s worth noting that the flood of 1990 covered an area larger than Germany.

Fortunately, Australia is a resilient nation with all levels of government as well as business and community based Non Government Organisations (NGO’s) playing a role in the development of safer communities. This wasn’t always the case.


Prior to the late 1930s disaster affected communities made do as best they could but in 1938 Australia followed the United Kingdom in establishing an Air Raid Precautions
Air Raid Precautions
Air Raid Precautions was an organisation in the United Kingdom set up as an aid in the prelude to the Second World War dedicated to the protection of civilians from the danger of air-raids. It was created in 1924 as a response to the fears about the growing threat from the development of bomber...

 (ARP) Organisation. This was done in response to Giulio Douhet
Giulio Douhet
General Giulio Douhet was an Italian general and air power theorist. He was a key proponent of strategic bombing in aerial warfare...

’s theories on aerial warfare that “the bombers will always get through”.

ARP duties included policing blackouts, fire guard messengers, emergency first response until relieved by the emergency and rescue services, as they were trained in basic fire fighting and first aid. They also helped bombed out house holders and assisted the police with crowd control.
The Federal Government held the view that the Constitution of Australia
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

 gave it the authority to wage war in defence of the nation but the responsibility for the civil protection measures in time of war belonged to its constituent states.

After the Second World War the ARP was substantially reduced but by 1948 public protection issues had again reappeared, centred on the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and the threat posed by nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s. By 1954 the ARP was disbanded and the State, Territory and Federal Governments agreed to a new rejuvenated “Civil Defence” organisation, with the Federal government providing a supporting role.

During the 50’s and 60’s the Australian community experienced a number of natural disasters and manmade crises. As a public safety asset, these state based Civil Defence organisations were regularly but not always called upon to assist. This changed on 7 February 1967 when the Black Tuesday bushfires swept through the City of Hobart with devastating consequences. The Civil Defence teams had been called out and responded well. The 1967 Tasmanian fires
1967 Tasmanian fires
The 1967 Tasmanian fires were an Australian natural disaster which occurred on 7 February 1967, an event which became known as the Black Tuesday bushfires...

 were a seminal point in the development of structured emergency management in Australia. During the early 1970s each state progressively remodelled their Civil Defence organisations to realign their focus away from the protection of the community in wartime to protection of the community in times of disaster. This transformation was also reflected in a name change from Civil Defence to State Emergency Service
State Emergency Service
A State Emergency Service is an Australian volunteer organisation that provides emergency help during and after declared disasters. The SES is also the primary or secondary agency for emergencies, such as storm damage,flood damage, building damage, traffic hazards and road crash rescue...

In 1974, the Federal Government established the Natural Disaster Organisation (NDO) within the Department of Defence. This was a support organisation only able to provide a coordination and training role. It did not control the state organisations, manage the response or own the resources required to respond effectively to a crisis.

In January 1993 the NDO was relaunched as Emergency Management Australia
Emergency Management Australia
Emergency Management Australia is an Australian Federal Government Agency tasked with coordinating governmental responses to emergency incidents...

 (EMA). To recognise the civil, community protection basis it was also transferred from the Department of Defence to the Attorney General’s Department.


The EMA and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

 (FEMA) are not equivalent organisations although they do share a common purpose and similar responsibilities. EMA is the peak body charged with reducing the impact of natural and non-natural disasters in Australia. These are defined as;


1. Meteorological Drought, heatwaves, bushfires,storms, cyclones and tornadoes.

2. Geological Earthquake, landslides and volcanoes.

3. Biological Human diseases pandemics,vermin, insect and animal plagues exotic animal diseases foot and mouth disease, anthrax, food crop diseases.

4. Extraterrestrial Asteroids and meteorites.

Non – Natural

1. Human caused Major crime, terrorism, error, riot crowd crushes, shooting massacres.

2. Technological Transport, mining, hazardous material, explosions, urban fire,bridge collapse, dam failure, nuclear accidents, and space junk impact.

In 1995 AS NZS 4360:1995, a standard on risk management was produced (since replaced by AS NZS 31000: 2009). The following year EMA recommended to the State Governments that risk management principles now be applied to natural emergency management principles and practises.
EMA maintains national level disaster plans for Australia and the South West Pacific but with its limited authority, still only enhances the capabilities of the States and Territories through support, coordination, training and the provision of extra resources when requested.
This role has recently been expanded to address the risk of terrorism, climate change, pandemics and the increasing need to provide international crisis assistance. The latter is co-opted through AusAID which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Currently, EMA
Ema may refer to:* Ema , wooden plaques with prayers or wishes at Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples* Kemak people, also called Ema, an ethnic group in Timor* Ema, the local name of the Greater Rhea in Brazil...

 consists of 4 branches as follows;

1. Security Coordination Branch

2. Crisis Coordination Branch

3. Crisis Support Branch

4. Natural Disaster Recovery Program Branch.

States and Territories

EMA operates within a climate of cooperative and constructive dialogue with the States and Territories who operate their own Disaster Acts. There is no federal emergency management legislation. The State and Territory Disaster Acts are administered in most cases by their individual Ministers for Emergency Services who control the peak government agency charged with emergency management at State or Territory level. As each State faces different risks (i.e. fires in the south and floods in the north) their crisis response and management arrangements contain subtle differences. In Queensland, the state is divided into 23 District Disaster Management Groups (DDMG) who liaise with EMQ. Its membership is made up of District Police Commanders,regional government departments,government owned corporations, and NGO's. It offers a middle management interface by providing State government assistance, when requested by Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMG).

Local Government

A fundamental concept in Australia’s emergency management philosophy is sustainability and resilience
Resilience is the property of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered. In other words, it is the maximum energy per unit volume that can be elastically stored...

 at a local level. In the state of Queensland, each local Shire, Town, or City Council fund their own community based, volunteer staffed, SES units that report to the peak body which is Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ). There are 73 units in total and each is made up of a single or multiple sub groups, depending on the size of the municipal authority. At this level, LDMG's are established and chaired by the Mayor or other senior elected member of the council.

State Emergency Service

There are a total of 339 SES groups in Queensland. Each group is managed by a Group Leader, qualified in emergency management and its volunteer members are equipped, uniformed, trained and lead to a common standard recommended by EMA and enforced by the authority of EMQ. These groups maintain interoperability
Interoperability is a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together . The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organizational factors that impact system to...

 with each other and interstate SES groups.

Concepts and Principles

Australia’s emergency management processes embrace the concept of the prepared community. This is achieved through the application of the following;

1. The Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System
Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System
In Australia, the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System is the nationally recognised system of organizational principles and structure used to manage wildfires and other large emergencies utilizing the All Agencies approach...

This is an incident command system, that is robust, scalable and applicable to all manner of crises. The successful management of disasters is achieved by having various divisions (Incident Controller, Logistics, Operations, Planning, Intelligence and Public Information) with appointed leaders responsible for handling specific aspects associated with the crises, reporting to a single Incident C ontroller. This system may be used for the effective coordination of resources in response to any incident or event.

2. Comprehensive Approach. This includes the emergency management phases of Preparation, Prevention, Response and Recovery (PPRR). These are not distinct linear segments, independent of each other but can overlap and run concurrently. It embraces the view that a prepared community is a safer community.

3. All Hazards Approach. This describes arrangements managing the wide range of possible outcomes of crises, as many risks cause similar outcomes that require similar responses.

4. Integrated or All Agencies Approach. At a local community level this includes involvement of government agencies such as the Department of Communities, Bureau of Meteorology, local councils, emergency services such as police, fire, ambulance and SES, as well as NGO’s such as community groups including local church and religious organisations and school parent and citizen committees, volunteer service organisations and media groups, particularly local radio. It embraces the view that working together, informed, alert, active citizens can do much to help themselves and their community.

5. The Bottom Up Approach. This firmly places the leadership of the emergency management processes in the hands of the controller, on the ground, confronting the disaster.


Disasters are just as destructive to business as they are to communities. The recommended structure for an emergency control organisation in a workplace is laid down in AS NZS 3745:2010 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. While only a guide, this document is reinforced by Workplace Health and Safety Legislation. This places the responsibility of the person in charge of a workplace to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace. In the States and Territories this is reinforced by further statute and common law. In Queensland, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service undertake random but regular audits of workplaces to ensure compliance. In addition, well managed businesses should maintain and test their own business continuity plans in accordance with AS/NZS 5050:2010 - Business Continuity - managing Disruption Related Risk. Again this document is only a guide but this work should come under governance as it enhances an organisation’s resilience.

Understanding the Risk

In 2009, The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters is a research unit of the Université catholique de Louvain . It is situated at the School of Public Health of the Brussels campus of the university....

 reported that Australia came in at 10th place on the list of countries with the highest number of reported natural disasters during that year. With this understanding of the risk it confronts, Australia maintains a state of preparedness and is constantly advancing its emergency management processes through the resilience improvement cycle.


Public Safety Canada is Canada’s national emergency management agency. Each province is required to have legislation in place for dealing with emergencies, as well as establish their own emergency management agencies, typically called an "Emergency Measures Organization" (EMO), which functions as the primary liaison with the municipal and federal level.

Public Safety Canada coordinates and supports the efforts of federal organizations ensuring national security and the safety of Canadians. They also work with other levels of government, first responders, community groups, the private sector (operators of critical infrastructure) and other nations.

Public Safety Canada’s work is based on a wide range of policies and legislation through the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act which defines the powers, duties and functions of PS are outlined. Other acts are specific to fields such as corrections, emergency management, law enforcement, and national security.


In Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 the Federal Government controls the German Katastrophenschutz (disaster relief) and Zivilschutz (civil protection
Civil defense
Civil defense, civil defence or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state from military attack. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation, and recovery...

) programs. The local units of German fire department
German fire department
The Feuerwehr is a number of German fire departments. The responsible body for operating and equipping fire departments are the German communities and cities . By law, they are required to operate a fire-fighting force including Emergency medical services in numbers corresponding to the...

 and the Technisches Hilfswerk
Technisches Hilfswerk
The Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk is a civil protection organisation controlled by the German federal government...

 (Federal Agency for Technical Relief, THW) are part of these programs. The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

), the German Federal Police
German Federal Police
The Bundespolizei is a uniformed federal police force in Germany. It is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior...

 and the 16 state police forces (Länderpolizei) all have been deployed for disaster relief operations.

Besides the German Red Cross, humanitarian help is dispensed by the Johanniter-Unfallhilfe, the German equivalent of the St. John Ambulance, the Malteser-Hilfsdienst, the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, and other private Organization, to cite the largest relief organisation that are equipped for large-scale emergencies. As of 2006, there is a joint course at the University of Bonn leading to the degree "Master in Disaster Prevention and Risk Governance"


The role of emergency management in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 falls to National Disaster Management Authority
National Disaster Management Authority
The National Disaster Management Authority , headed by the Prime Minister of India, is the Apex Body for Disaster Management in India. The setting up of the NDMA and the creation of an enabling environment for institutional mechanisms at the State and District levels is mandated by the Disaster...

 of India, a government agency subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In recent years there has been a shift in emphasis from response and recovery to strategic risk management and reduction, and from a government-centered approach to decentralized community participation. The Ministry of Science and Technology.headed by Dr Karan Rawat, supports an internal agency that facilitates research by bringing the academic knowledge and expertise of earth scientists to emergency management.

A group representing a public/private partnership has recently been formed by the Government of India. It is funded primarily by a large India-based computer company and aimed at improving the general response of communities to emergencies, in addition to those incidents which might be described as disasters. Some of the groups' early efforts involve the provision of emergency management training for first responders (a first in India), the creation of a single emergency telephone number, and the establishment of standards for EMS staff, equipment, and training. It operates in three states, though efforts are being made in making this a nation-wide effective group.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is responsible for emergency preparedness en emergency management on national level and operates a national crisis centre (NCC). The country is divided in 25 safety regions (veiligheidsregio). Each safety region is covered by three services: police, fire and ambulance. All regions operate according to the Coordinated Regional Incident Management
Coordinated Regional Incident Management (Netherlands)
The Coordinated Regional Incident-Management Procedure or Gecoördineerde Regionale Incidentbestrijdings Procedure is a nationwide emergency management procedure in the Netherlands....

 system. Other services such as the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (Netherlands)
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence governs the Netherlands Armed Forces. The Minister is assisted by a State Secretary...

, water board
Water board
A water board is a regional organisation that has very different functions from one country to another, ranging from flood control, water resources management, water charging and financing, and bulk water supply.-Philippines:The...

(s), Rijkswaterstaat
Rijkswaterstaat, founded in 1798 as the Bureau voor den Waterstaat, is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the former Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management...

 etc. can have an active role in the emergency management process.

New Zealand

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, responsibility for emergency management moves from local to national depending on the nature of the emergency or risk reduction programme. A severe storm may be manageable within a particular area, whereas a national public education campaign will be directed by central government. Within each region, local governments are unified into 16 Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups (CDEMGs).

Every CDEMG is responsible for ensuring that local emergency management is robust as possible. As local arrangements are overwhelmed by an emergency, pre-existing mutual-support arrangements are activated. As warranted, central government has the authority to coordinate the response through the National Crisis Management Centre
National Crisis Management Centre
The National Crisis Management Centre , also known as the Beehive Bunker, is the New Zealand government crisis management command centre situated under the Beehive....

 (NCMC), operated by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (New Zealand)
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is New Zealand's central government agency responsible for emergency management.- External links :* The Ministry's website: http://www.civildefence.govt.nz...

 (MCDEM). These structures are defined by regulation, and best explained in The Guide to the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2006, roughly equivalent to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

's National Response Framework
National Response Framework
The United States National Response Framework is part of the National Strategy for Homeland Security that presents the guiding principles enabling all levels of domestic response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies...



New Zealand uses unique terminology for emergency management to the rest of the English-speaking world.
4Rs is a term used to describe the emergency management cycle locally. In New Zealand the four phases are known as:
  • Reduction = Mitigation
  • Readiness = Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery
Emergency management is rarely used locally; many government publications retain usage of the term civil defence. For example, the Minister of Civil Defence is responsible for central government's emergency management agency, MCDEM.
Civil Defence Emergency Management is a term in its own right. Often abbreviated as CDEM, it is defined by statute as the application of knowledge to prevent harm from disasters.
Disaster very rarely appears in official publications. In a New Zealand context, the terms emergency and incident usually appear when speaking about disasters in general. When describing an emergency that has had a response from the authorities, the term event is also used. For example, publications refer to the “Canterbury Snow Event 2002”


Disaster management in Pakistan basically revolves around flood disasters with a primary focus on rescue and relief. After each disaster episode the government incurs considerable expenditure directed at rescue, relief and rehabilitation. Within disaster management bodies in Pakistan, there is a dearth of knowledge and information about hazard identification, risk assessment and management, and linkages between livelihoods and disaster preparedness. Disaster management policy responses are not generally influenced by methods and tools for cost-effective and sustainable interventions. There are no long-term, inclusive and coherent institutional arrangements to address disaster issues with a long-term vision. Disasters are viewed in isolation from the processes of mainstream development and poverty alleviation planning. For example, disaster management, development planning and environmental management institutions operate in isolation and integrated planning between these sectors is almost lacking. Absence of a central authority for integrated disaster management and lack of coordination within and between disaster related organizations is responsible for effective and efficient disaster management in the country. State-level disaster preparedness and mitigation measures are heavily tilted towards structural aspects and undermine non-structural elements such as the knowledge and capacities of local people, and the related livelihood protection issues.


In Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) is engaged in fire fighting
Fire fighting
Firefighting is the act of extinguishing fires. A firefighter fights fires to prevent loss of life, and/or destruction of property and the environment...

, Civil Defense
Civil defense
Civil defense, civil defence or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state from military attack. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation, and recovery...

, Search and Rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

, including rescue services after natural and human-made disasters.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 adjusted its focus on emergency management following the 2000 UK fuel protests
UK fuel protests
The fuel protests in the United Kingdom were a series of campaigns held in the United Kingdom over the cost of petrol and diesel for road vehicle use. There have been three notable campaigns amongst many other protests in the 21st century. The first protest in 2000 was primarily led by lorry...

, severe flooding in the same year and the 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth crisis. This resulted in the creation of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004
Civil Contingencies Act 2004
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that establishes a coherent framework for emergency planning and response ranging from local to national level...

 (CCA) which defined some organisations as Category 1 and 2 Responders. These responders have responsibilities under the legislation regarding emergency preparedness and response. The CCA is managed by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat
Civil Contingencies Secretariat
The Civil Contingencies Secretariat, created in July 2001, is the department of the British Cabinet Office responsible for emergency planning in the UK. The role of the secretariat is to ensure the United Kingdom’s resilience against disruptive challenge, and to do this by working with others to...

 through Regional Resilience Forums and at the local authority level.

Disaster Management training is generally conducted at the local level by the organisations involved in any response. This is consolidated through professional courses that can be undertaken at the Emergency Planning College
Emergency Planning College
The Emergency Planning College is situated at the heart of Government, within the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet Office....

. Furthermore diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications can be gained throughout the country – the first course of this type was carried out by Coventry University
Coventry University
Coventry University is a post-1992 university in Coventry, West Midlands, England. Under the terms of the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992, the institution's name was changed from Coventry Polytechnic to Coventry University...

 in 1994. The Institute of Emergency Management is a charity, established in 1996, providing consulting services for the government, media and commercial sectors.

The Professional Society for Emergency Planners is the Emergency Planning Society.

One of the largest emergency exercises in the UK was carried out on 20 May 2007 near Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, and involved the scenario of a plane crash landing at Belfast International Airport
Belfast International Airport
Belfast International Airport is a major airport located northwest of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was formerly known and is still referred to as Aldergrove Airport, after the village of the same name lying immediately to the west of the airport. Belfast International shares its runways with...

. Staff from five hospitals and three airports participated in the drill, and almost 150 international observers assessed its effectiveness.

United States

Disaster and catastrophe planning in the United States has utilized the functional All-Hazards approach for over 20 years, in which emergency managers develop processes (such as communication & warning or sheltering) rather than developing single-hazard/threat focused plans (e.g., a tornado plan). Processes then are mapped to the hazards/threats, with the emergency manager looking for gaps, overlaps, and conflicts between processes.

This has the advantage of creating a plan more resilient to novel events (because all common processes are defined), encourages planning done by the process owners whom are the subject matter experts (e.g., the traffic management plan written by public works director, rather than the emergency manager), and focuses on processes (which are real, can be measured, ranked in importance, and are under our control). This key planning distinction often comes in conflict with non-emergency management regulatory bodies which require development of hazard/threat specific plans, such as development of specific H1N1 flu plans and terrorism-specific plans.

In the United States, all disasters start as local events, with local authorities in charge. If the event becomes overwhelming to local government, state emergency management (the primary government structure of the United States) becomes the controlling emergency management agency. Under the Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

 (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is lead federal agency for emergency management and supports, but does not override, state authority. The United States and its territories are covered by one of ten regions for FEMA’s emergency management purposes.

Emergencies are managed at the most-local level possible, utilizing mutual aid agreements with adjacent jurisdictions. If the emergency is terrorist related or if declared an "Incident of National Significance", the Secretary of Homeland Security will initiate the National Response Framework
National Response Framework
The United States National Response Framework is part of the National Strategy for Homeland Security that presents the guiding principles enabling all levels of domestic response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies...

 (NRF). Under this plan the involvement of federal resources will be made possible, integrating in with the local, county, state, or tribal entities. Management will continue to be handled at the lowest possible level utilizing the National Incident Management System
National Incident Management System
The National Incident Management System is emergency management doctrine used nationwide to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response among the public and private sectors.NIMS is a comprehensive, national approach to incident management that is applicable at all...


The Citizen Corps
Citizen Corps
Citizen Corps is a United States national service program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security that seeks to mobilize the population of the country against threats to national security as well as to assist in the recovery after a disaster or terrorist attack...

 is an organization of volunteer service programs, administered locally and coordinated nationally by DHS, which seek to mitigate disaster and prepare the population for emergency response through public education, training, and outreach. Community Emergency Response Team
Community Emergency Response Team
In the United States a community emergency response team can refer to* one of five federal programs promoted under the umbrella organization Citizen Corps, which is funded in part by the Stafford Act;...

s are a Citizen Corps program focused on disaster preparedness and teaching basic disaster response skills. These volunteer teams are utilized to provide emergency support when disaster overwhelms the conventional emergency services.

The US Congress established the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
The Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance is a direct reporting unit to the U.S. Pacific Command and principal agency to promote disaster preparedness and societal resiliency in the Asia-Pacific region...

 (COE) as the principal agency to promote disaster preparedness and societal resiliency in the Asia-Pacific region. As part of its mandate, COE facilitates education and training in disaster preparedness, consequence management and health security to develop domestic, foreign and international capability and capacity.

Most disaster response by volunteer organizations. In the US, the Red Cross is chartered by Congress to coordinate disaster response services. For large events, religious organizations are able to mount volunteers quickly. The largest partners are the Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

 and Southern Baptists. The Salvation Army is usually primary for emergency lodging/shelter and direct feeding, chaplaincy and rebuild services; the Baptists' 82,000+ volunteers do bulk food preparation (90% of the meals in a major disaster) for Salvation Army distribution and homeowner services such as debris and downed limb removal, mold abatement, hot showers and laundry, child care and chaplaincy. Similar services are also provided by Methodist Relief Services, the Lutherans, and Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization that works worldwide to assist people in physical need alongside their Christian missionary work. The organization’s president is Franklin Graham, son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham...


Unaffiliated volunteers can be counted on to show up at most large disasters. To prevent abuse by criminals and for the safety of the volunteers, procedures have been implemented within most response agencies to manage and effectively use these 'SUVs' (Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers).

See also

  • Disaster medicine
    Disaster medicine
    Disaster medicine is the area of physician medical specialization serving the dual areas of providing medical care to disaster survivors and providing medically related disaster preparation, disaster planning, disaster response and disaster recovery leadership throughout the disaster life cycle...

  • Water security and emergency preparedness
    Water security and emergency preparedness
    Water security consists of the systems and actions required to protect a water supply from natural disasters, security threats, accidental and intentional contamination, and other vulnerabilities.- Water utility security :...

  • Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies
    Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies
    The Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies consists of 15 UK based NGOs - ActionAid, Action Against Hunger, CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Helpage International, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Merlin, Oxfam GB, Plan International...

  • Disaster Accountability Project
    Disaster Accountability Project
    The Disaster Accountability Project is a non-partisan watchdog organization dedicated to improving disaster management systems. DAP was founded in 2007 by Ben Smilowitz as a reaction to the responses to hurricanes Katrina and Rita...

  • Humanitarian International Services Group
    Humanitarian International Services Group
    Humanitarian International Services Group is a New York state non-profit corporation and a 5013 tax exempt organization. Its incorporation date is December 14, 2001. HISG specializes in private sector resource mobilization and management for crisis response and community development. Simply...

  • International Disaster Emergency Service
    International Disaster Emergency Service
    International Disaster Emergency Service is a non-profit organization based in Kempton, Indiana, United States that seeks to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people in times of emergency. The organization is primarily funded by Christian churches and churches of Christ...

  • NetHope
    NetHope, Inc., founded in 2001, is a consortium of 32 international non-governmental organizations that specializes inimproving IT connectivity among humanitarian organizations in developing countries and areas affected by disaster. The organization has partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco Systems,...

Further reading

External links

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