Disaster Phases

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Disaster Phases


A disaster is an event or situation that overwhelms available resources and results in injury, death, and/or destruction of property. Terrorism or disaster preparedness includes several phases:

Planning – Becoming aware of what types of disasters may occur and taking steps to be prepared for different situations.

Rescue – Immediate steps taken during a disaster to ensure everyone is safe.

Response/Recovery – Actions and care taken during and immediately after the disaster. The time when people work towards reestablishing normalcy. Emotional or mental health problems typically begin to emerge during this phase.

Mitigation – Efforts to apply lessons learned to prevent future disasters or to lessen their impact.

Types of Disasters
There are different types of disasters; some occur without warning, while with others there is time for preparation.

Natural Disasters
    Infestations or disease epidemics
    Storms (blizzards, cyclones, hail or ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes)

Technological Disasters
    Hazardous material releases, spills
    Power outages
    Transportation crashes, derailments
    Unintentional explosions, collapses

Terrorism or Violence
    Bombings, intentional explosions
    Cult-related violence
    Multiple or mass shootings
    Releasing of agents (biological, chemical, radiologic/nuclear)

Humanitarian Disasters, Complex Emergencies
    Genocidal acts
    Shelter, feeding, or medical care of displaced populations
    War, violent political conflict

Certain disasters end quickly, while others affect large populations for an extended period of time. Disasters can have physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Each person prepares and responds differently to a disaster; however, children are at increased risk during and after a disaster for a variety of reasons.

Children Have Unique Needs
Children younger than 18 comprise more than one-quarter of the US population. The AAP has created a document titled "The Youngest Victims: Disaster Preparedness to Meet Children's Needs" that you can share with others to help raise awareness as to why children are at increased risk or are more vulnerable in a disaster. As a parent, caregiver or teacher, emergency professional, health professional, or a child advocate, you can work with others in your community to ensure children's needs are addressed in all disaster preparedness plans.
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