Disasters have a cyclic four stage lifecycle. Understanding this lifecycle helps us to be prepared for disasters, respond safely and recover quickly and effectively.
At each stage there are different things to know, different actions we should take and different ways we connect with people. These stages can change rapidly and often overlap.
The four stages are:
activities reduce the impact of natural disasters through the identification of hazards. Hazards are risks that could affect your household, causing you to evacuate or that could impact your evacuation plans. Hazards can include having power lines near trees, living in a street with only one access point, or having a creek behind your house. At a macro level, it also involves legislation, land-use planning and technical solutions.
is an ongoing set of activities in which people plan, prepare/organise and train for emergency situations. This includes tasks such as having a stay/go kit, making an evacuation plan, simulating disaster situations and appropriate responses, and discussing emergency preparedness with your family, friends and neighbours.
is responding to the immediate needs of the emergency situation. A well rehearsed emergency plan developed during the preparedness stage enables more effective responses at all levels.
involves activities and decision making necessary to restoring the affected area to its previous state, often taking the opportunity to build back better by reducing predisaster risks inherent in the community and infrastructure. This stage often involves rebuilding, reemployment and repair of essential infrastructure.
* Whilst we refer to this stage as prevention, some organisations prefer to use the term mitigation, so you might hear people talking about MPRR. In practice they refer to the same activities however we use the term prevention because in Queensland, prevention is the legislated term used by the Queensland Government in the State Disaster Management Plan.
See a full copy of the State Disaster Management Plan
Image source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District