Recovery is the fourth and final phase of the emergency management cycle. It continues until all systems return to normal or near-normal operation.
Short-term recovery restores vital life-support systems to minimum operating conditions. Long-term recovery may go on for months—even years—until the entire disaster area returns to its previous condition or undergoes improvement with new features that are less disaster-prone. For example, a town can relocate portions of its flood-prone community and turn the area into open space or parkland. This illustrates how recovery can provide opportunities to mitigate future disasters.