Phases of Emergency Management


Legislation evolved with the introduction of the Stafford Act, which has been amended regularly and is the legislative backbone of the National Emergency Management System. 

The Stafford Act created FEMA out of a practical necessity to strengthen overlapping strategies used in many different types of emergency events. The goal of founding FEMA was to create an environment that would manage all types of hazards and would encourage cooperation among and between agencies traditionally responding to all types of hazards. The philosophy that drives the agency is that there is a life cycle to emergency response consisting of four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. 


Mitigation efforts are attempts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether or to reduce the effects of disasters. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases in that it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk. Some mitigation measures include building codes, zoning requirements, installation of shutters, etc. 


Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. Emergency personnel is constantly reviewing and developing plans, holding drills and attending training, stockpiling, inventory, and maintaining disaster supplies and equipment in order to be ready when they are needed. 


The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. They are actions carried out immediately before, during, and immediately after a hazard impact, saving lives, reducing economic losses, and alleviating suffering. Response actions may include setting up a command center, evacuating threatened populations, opening shelters and providing mass care, emergency rescue, medical care, and search and rescue. 


Once the event has moved into the recovery stage, the immediate need is to reestablish the basic infrastructure and provide for the safety of residents. Secondarily, long-term recovery may take many months or even years before the community returns to its former level of normal operations.

Levels of Readiness

The Monroe County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operates at one of three levels of readiness in order to carry out its mission. These levels are described below and are patterned to closely match the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) EOC activation levels to maintain consistent definitions.

Full Activation

In a full-scale activation, the EOC is activated on a 24-hour schedule due to an imminent threat or occurrence of a disaster.

Partial Activation

Partial activation is typically limited agency activation. Emergency Management staff and Emergency Support Function lead agencies with a role in the incident response are activated and required to report to EOC.


Is typically a monitoring and assessment phase where a specific threat, unusual event, or situation, is actively monitored by the Emergency Management staff.