Preparedness is defined by DHS/FEMA as "a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response." This cycle is one element of a broader National Preparedness System to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other disasters.
Planning makes it possible to manage the entire life cycle of a potential crisis. Strategic and operational planning establishes priorities, identifies expected levels of performance and capability requirements, provides the standard for assessing capabilities, and helps stakeholders learn their roles. Training and exercise further validate plans to ensure that they are integrated with stakeholders across all sectors and levels of government and to identify any gaps not identified in the planning process. These gaps are identified in After-Action Reviews, which are conducted following all exercises and real-world events, and remedied through corrective actions.
Through continuously planning, training, and exercising, we can ensure that the state is prepared for any threat or hazard we may face.