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Disaster management phases

A progressive strategy for managing disasters ensures that loss of life and property is reduced in a disaster event.

Phases of disaster management prepare communities with the knowledge and resources to protect themselves from harm and to manage the response and recovery stages.

Prevention and preparedness identifies potential risks and the actions that can be taken before a disaster event in order to reduce its impact.

Response to a disaster event must be swift and effective to combat the disaster, to assist those affected by it and to make the area safe.

While the effects of a disaster can be sudden, the recovery period can place significant long-term strain on a community.

A disaster stricken community needs assistance to regain a proper level of functioning following a disaster.

Prevention and Preparedness

Prevention includes the identification of hazards, the assessment of threats to life and property, and the taking of measures to reduce potential loss of life and property damage, sometimes known as disaster mitigation.

Mitigation measures range from:

  • community awareness campaigns to increase knowledge of how to deal with disaster situations
  • land use planning and design decisions to stop development which may be dangerous in the event of a disaster
  • capital works such as levee bank construction to reduce the impacts of flooding.

All mitigation measures are important as they not only reduce the cost of disasters to the community, but they save lives.

Disaster managers at all levels are responsible for using a risk management process to identify prevention and mitigation options.

Preparedness includes arrangements or plans to deal with a disaster or the effects of a disaster. Disaster District and Local Government Plans are developed to provide for the activation of the disaster management system and provision of resources to be used in case of a disaster.

Response and recovery

As opposed to disaster prevention and preparedness, response and recovery are undertaken during a disaster and after it occurs.

Response is the process of combating a disaster and providing assistance to people affected by a disaster. The aim of response operations is to save lives, protect property and make an affected area safe. This is done by a number of organisations, including Local Government Counter Disaster Committees, State Emergency Service units, Police, Fire, Ambulance and Defence. The Disaster Management Arrangements ensures support and assistance are available as required by disaster stricken communities.

Recovery is the process by which an affected community is assisted in regaining a proper level of functioning following a disaster. It comprises initial recovery, which satisfies personal and community needs and restores services to the level where local government and the normal responsible agencies can manage the continuing process. It also includes long term recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation measures. The Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), administered by the Federal Government, provide funding assistance to States and Territories aimed at alleviating the financial burden associated with the provision of natural disaster relief payments and infrastructure restoration.