Disaster preparedness

A condition where different levels and types of social, political and economic organization (and individuals) are able to anticipate and are ready to undertake actions that limit immediate hazard impacts, provide for early recovery, and promote sustainable post disaster recovery, including improved resilience.


1. Preparedness resources include the knowledge, capacities, human resources, assets, instruments and hardware developed or provided by governments, the private sector, response and recovery organizations, communities and individuals that facilitate response, including the existence of early warning systems at different spatial scales.

2. Preparedness is based on an analysis of disaster risks and good linkages with early warning systems, and includes activities such as contingency planning, the stockpiling of equipment and supplies, arrangements for coordination, evacuation, and public information, and associated training and field exercises. These must be supported by formal institutional, legal, and budgetary capacities.

3. Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action. A preparedness plan establishes arrangements in advance to enable timely, effective, and appropriate responses to specific potential hazardous events or emerging disaster situations. Preparedness activities increase a community’s ability to respond when a disaster occurs. Training is the cornerstone of preparedness and focuses on readiness to respond to all-hazard incidents and emergencies.

4. In relation to infrastructure, preparedness should be informed by the analysis of the physical condition of infrastructure, its robustness and resilience, and existing levels of system redundancy, should any infrastructure system fail or be destroyed. This should be accompanied by the determination of alternatives for service provision following impact in the medium and long terms.

5. See also “Disaster response”.


Modified from UNDRR Sendai Framework Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction (2023).



RESIST, DELAY, STORE, DISCHARGE - disaster preparedness for Hoboken, New Jersey

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Hoboken, New Jersey, found itself submerged in floodwater, leaving its 53,000 residents in the dark and surrounded by contaminated waters. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer vowed to make her city resilient to future storms, securing US$230 million from the Rebuild by Design programme to protect the city. The plan, which was developed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and engineering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV, called for a comprehensive strategy to resist, delay, store, and discharge floodwaters. OMA's proposal included both hard and soft infrastructure to protect the city's coastlines and slow down rainwater runoff, including a retention system and a pump station. The proposal also added amenities such as parks, benches, murals, and green walls to make the protective infrastructure a benefit to the city's residents. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance recognizes the project as a national model for preparedness, as it offers replicable solutions that can guide other communities towards a sustainable and safer future.