• United States



Some Common Emergency Management Terms – Concepts

May 28, 20103 mins
Business ContinuityCareersIT Leadership

To quote directly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the mission of FEMA (now a part of Homeland Security):

… reduce the loss of life and property and protect the Nation from all hazards, … by leading and supporting the Nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation. 

FEMA uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a standard template that enables all US government levels and types, the private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents, regardless of size or complexity. The NIMS uses standards ensuring collaboration during incidents while driving response authority, resource acquisition, and management. The National Response Framework (NRF) provides structure and standards that partners use to prepare for and provide a unified response to any emergency. Using an all-hazards approach, the NRF focuses on incidents. The Incident Command System (ICS) provides fundamental management of incidents through standard taxonomy and pre-established organizations that cross multiple jurisdictions delivering operational support and resources. The ICS provides a common, authoritative structure delivering feet-on-the-street in the form of personnel, equipment, communications and facilities.

Your company should provide community support while ensuring resiliency to withstand most any incident.As part of the overall layered approach to this national program, it is recommended that your organization work closely with the government as partners in emergency management. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) drove the establishment of standards and best practices used in emergency management through the NFPA 1600 National Preparedness Standard. NFPA 1600 provides the context for multi-jurisdictional standardization.

Preparedness, mitigation, prevention, response and recovery, are core concepts and actions taken to ensure survivability of incidents and can be found as themes throughout NIMS, the NRF and the ICS.

Emergency management (EM) begins with a host of preparedness activities conducted regularly, in advance of any incident. EM combines planning, training, exercises, qualified staff, standard processes and procedures and usable equipment. Preparedness helps reduce the impact of hazards before an incident occurs. Preparedness includes plans made to save lives and facilitate response and recovery operations ensuring business activity sustainability.

Mitigation activities serve to reduce risks, hazards and losses to people and property or at the very least to lessen incident consequences while supporting corporate and community goals.

Prevention means actions taken to avoid an incident or to intervene to stop an incident from occurring altogether. It can save lives and protect property. 

Response involves putting preparedness plans into action through rapid assessments and the subsequent prioritization of activities non-inclusively.

Recovery is the planning and execution of site-restoration plans for the corporation and our surrounding communities.  

Educated and strong leadership is required to effectively manage incidents. As part of your plan your organization should establish responsibility matrices for management review and document any recently completed training programs covering corporate leadership, management, key personnel and employees. Your organization’s participation would certainly help with corporate resiliency ensuring the company has the tools available during any potential incident while supporting surrounding communities.