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The “Phases” of Emergency Management

Emergency management is often described in terms of “phases,” using terms such as mitigate, prepare, respond and recover.  This paper examines the origins, underlying concepts, variations, limitations, and implications of the “phases of emergency management.”  The purpose is to provide background information for transportation researchers and practitioners.

The paper looks at definitions and descriptions of each phase or component of emergency management,  the temporal versus functional distinctions of the various phases, the importance of understanding interrelationships and responsibilities for each phase, some newer language and associated concepts (e.g., disaster resistance, sustainability, resilience, business continuity, risk management), and the diversity of research perspectives.  In addition, the research identified some confusion in the use of terms, largely attributable to unresolved questions as to whether the “all hazards” approach to emergency management is adequate for “homeland security.”  The paper attempts to clarify the important words and phrases most likely to be misunderstood, cause confusion, or require contextual definition.

The full paper is available on the VECTOR website at:

Please contact Malcolm Baird for more information on this project.