The Disaster Life Cycle in everyday life

Disasters are happening. Everyday on this planet. Some of them are environmental and others man-made. The Disaster Life Cycle describes ways, how we can deal with these situations and shows a holistic view on the phases we go through. We can use the knowledge about the disaster life cycle not only for disasters, but for all things that could throw us off track.


If we know what we want to prevent, we can actively work on minimising the risk. Not all things can be prevented, but they can often be weakened. For example, the consequences of a car accident are usually less severe, if you are buckled up. Even if it couldn’t be prevented entirely.

Now for a less dramatic example: When I was still making home visits, I was often concerned that I would be late for an appointment. So I often deliberately specified time windows instead of fixed times. I always aimed for the earlier time of the window, but sometimes it was the later time. However, it was not perceived as „too late“ by the clients. I knew the risk of being late and through the measure of the time window, have weakened the event.


If I know what could theoretically happen, I can also think about how I would like to react. I remind you at this point – it doesn’t have to be a disaster, just an event that throws you off track. This could be, for example, that you have locked yourself out in the morning and forgot the car key in the apartment. If you are prepared for the „I don’t come to work as planned“ situation, the machinery starts to run at this moment and it will not be such a big stressor, because maybe you have saved essential contacts or you know about the public transport options.

Or if I suddenly have two clients in my practice and both of them think they have an appointment with me (which actually happened to me three times so far), I need a plan of how to proceed in this situation, in order to be able to resolve the situation satisfactorily. This leads us to the next point.


The way in which I react to the situation is very decisive in how stressful I experience it. I can now implement plans that I have considered and prepared beforehand (if I did so).


After I have reacted to the event, it is now time to bring myself back to a starting position, that comes close to my original status. I recover from the event, learn from it and start again with the first step, in which I consider how I can further weaken or prevent this event in the future.

As this process describes a cycle, it is never to late to start. Even if you are finding yourself within the state of Recovery already, you can now use your knowledge and start with Mitigation.

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