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The City of New Orleans


Key Definitions & Acronyms

This framework frequently uses key terms to describe recovery concepts and practices. Definitions for these terms are provided below to serve as a reference.


Comprehensive Recovery Framework: A Comprehensive Recovery Framework is the set of goals, processes, documented capacities, roles and responsibilities, and resources established before a disaster to manage and measure an equitable and sustainable recovery after a disaster for use by local government and communities. Recovery planning helps harmonize goals, responsibilities, and resources across local government and civil society.

Disaster: An occurrence of a natural catastrophe, technological accident, or human-caused event that has resulted in severe property damage, deaths, and/or multiple injuries.

Disaster Continuum: The Disaster Continuum incorporates four phases: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. All communities are always within at least one of these phases.

Equity: An equitable government acts with purpose to achieve just and fair inclusion, leveraging power and resources to dismantle institutional racism and all forms of discrimination wherever they exist. Equity is achieved when identity, status, and ability no longer predict a person’s quality of life in our city.

Hazard: According to FEMA, “Something that is potentially dangerous or harmful, often the root cause of an unwanted outcome.”

Hazard Mitigation Plan: An official plan prepared for governing board adoption and FEMA approval, which, among other things, assesses the type, location, and extent of natural hazards affecting the City; describes vulnerability of people, structures, and infrastructure facilities to such hazards and estimates potential losses, and includes a mitigation strategy that provides the City’s blueprint for reducing potential losses identified.

Mitigation: According to FEMA, “hazard mitigation reduces loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters.” Mitigation focuses on long-term strategies to protect people and property from disasters. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction. While mitigation is a separate phase from recovery in the Disaster Continuum and incorporates a separate planning process (see also “Hazard Mitigation Plan”), decisions and investments made during recovery can help contribute to hazard mitigation objectives.

Recovery: Recovery is a part of the Disaster Continuum – it is the process after the initial emergency response to a disaster is over. FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) defines recovery as “those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively, including, but not limited to, rebuilding infrastructure systems; providing adequate interim and long-term housing for survivors; restoring health, social, and community services; promoting economic development; and restoring natural and cultural resources.

Recovery Management: The coordination of processes and actions for recovery outcomes via a pre-determined organizational and accountability structure. The National Disaster Recovery Framework identifies local government as responsible for this coordination. Recovery Support Functions (RSFs): Modeled after FEMA’s Emergency Support Functions (ESF), Recovery Support Functions (RSFs) are organized across relevant topic areas to comprehensively address community recovery. The City of New Orleans uses six RSFs, slightly modified from FEMA’s: 1) Community Planning and Capacity Building, 2) Economic Recovery, 3) Health and Social Services, 4) Housing, 5) Infrastructure and Natural Systems, and 6) Cultural Resources. Through the RSFs, relevant stakeholders and experts are brought together during steady state planning and activated post-disaster to identify and resolve recovery challenges. Together, these RSFs help facilitate local stakeholder participation and promote intergovernmental and public-private partnerships.

Resilience: The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems to survive, adapt, and grow despite the chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.

Response: The period immediately after disaster, often managed by First Responders, where immediate life and property needs are addressed.

Pre-disaster Plan for Post-disaster Recovery: The CRF is a pre-disaster plan for recovery. A plan for local government and community recovery that is put into place prior to a disaster to facilitate more efficient and equitable recovery. It is intended to bring order to the recovery process, but may be augmented with post-disaster plans, which are developed once a disaster occurs and more specific details on community impacts and recovery needs are known. A pre-disaster plan emphasizes the governance structure for Recovery Management as well as goals and indicators, processes, roles and responsibilities, and resources across local government and community capacities.

Sustainability: Meeting the needs of current and future generations without compromising the ecosystems upon which they depend. For New Orleans, this also means a commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of global warming and climate change. These emissions largely derive from the energy we use, how we transport ourselves and our goods, and the decomposition of our waste.