Emergency management is the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.
Emergency management protects communities by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters. There are four mission areas of emergency management:
- Preparedness means to have plans or preparations already made for reacting promptly and effectively to save lives and help response-and-rescue operations before an emergency. Preparedness includes having evacuation plans, designating a family meeting place after an emergency, and having a disaster supply kit.
- Response begins as soon as a disaster is detected or threatened. It involves mobilizing and positioning emergency equipment and personnel and getting people out of danger. It also means providing needed food, water, shelter, medical services, and restoration of utilities such as electricity, gas, and cable services.
- Recovery is the effort to restore infrastructure and social and economic life of a community to a normal, or even safer situation, following an emergency or disaster. Recovery can be short term or long term.
- Mitigation is defined as "sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects." It describes the ongoing effort at the federal, state, local, and individual levels to lessen the impact of disasters upon our families, homes, communities, and economy.
The all-hazards approach is a comprehensive emergency preparedness framework that takes a full scope of emergencies or disasters into account when planning for response capacities and mitigation efforts. The all-hazards approach leads to better overall preparedness and more resilient communities that can withstand disasters of all kinds. The City of Williamsburg has an all-hazards approach to emergency planning including:
- Hazardous Materials Incidents
- Major Fires
- Mass Casualty Incidents
- Natural Disasters
- Weather Emergencies