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Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of disasters. During the preparedness phase, governments, organizations, and individuals develop plans to save lives, minimize disaster damage, and enhance disaster response operations.

Preparedness measures include:

      • preparedness plans;
      • emergency exercises/training;
      • warning systems;
      • emergency communications systems;
      • evacuations plans and training;
      • resource inventories;
      • emergency personnel/contact lists;
      • mutual aid agreements; and
      • public information/education.
As with mitigation efforts, preparedness actions depend on the incorporation of appropriate measures in national and regional development plans. In addition, their effectiveness depends on the availability of information on hazards, emergency risks and the countermeasures to be taken, and on the degree to which government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public are able to make use of this information.