The Fergus County Office of Disaster & Emergency Services (DES) is responsible for coordinating an emergency services system which includes all four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Mitigation is defined as activities that prevent an emergency or disaster, reduce the chance of an emergency or disaster happening, or reduce the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies or disasters. Mitigation includes such things as building codes, fire codes, hazard and vulnerability analyses, zoning and land use management, dam construction/inspection, flood proof buildings, water purification and sanitary waste disposal. Mitigation activities take place before and after emergencies and disasters.
Preparedness is defined as development of plans and preparations made to save lives and to help response and rescue operations. Examples of preparedness activities are emergency exercises and training, evacuation plans, resource inventories, mutual aid agreements, public information/education, stream flow monitoring, fire drills, exit signs, automatic sprinkler installation, development of family emergency plans and kits. Preparedness activities take place before an emergency or disaster occurs.
Response is defined as actions taken to save lives and prevent further property damage in a disaster or emergency situation. Response is putting your preparedness plan into action. Mobilization of emergency responders, declaring a disaster/emergency, emergency public information, seeking shelter from a tornado, and turning off gas valves in an earthquake are all examples of response activities. Response activities take place during an emergency or disaster.
Recovery is defined as actions taken to return to a normal or an even safer situation following an emergency or disaster. Short term recovery returns vital life support systems to minimum operating standards. Long term recovery may continue for months or even several years after a disaster or emergency. Temporary housing, reconstruction and rebuilding, public information, counseling programs, decontamination of water sources, and reassessment of existing regulations are examples of recovery activities. Recovery often includes mitigation measures against repeat of the disaster. Recovery takes place after an emergency or disaster.