Contingency Plan vs Mitigation Plan


A Contingency Plan is a designed plan which takes into account a number of possible future events or circumstances where a mitigation plan is the step to reduce adverse effects. That’s still not a clear message, is it?


Here are a few differences between a Mitigation Plan & a Contingency Plan:

S No

Mitigation Plan

Contingency Plan


It is the action to prevent risk before it happens.

It is the action to cure risk after it happens


It is the first level defense for high exposure risks.

It is the fallback plan for the high exposure risks.


A Mitigation Plan can be considered as PLAN A

A Contingency Plan can be considered as PLAN B.


The actions will be planned for identified risks in advance irrespective of the occurrence and severity of the risk.

The actions will be planned in advance but certain warning signs will be under monitoring and actions will be taken when the warnings signs are at sight.


It helps to reduce the probability of impact of the identified risk.

Probability or impact doesn’t change but it helps to control the impact.


Example: To wear a helmet/seatbelt is the mitigation plan.

Example: To apply for accident insurance is the contingency plan.


Thrill Bowl out: India vs. Pakistan Super over in T20 World Cup 2007

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There is one small interesting example to show the importance of the mitigation plan. In super over, it was a tied match between India and Pakistan. It was the first time the super over rule was implemented in cricket history. It is similar to a soccer penalty shoot-out. Cricketers from each team need to bowl and target the stumps. Pakistan bowlers missed all the bowl-out targets but India targeted each and every ball. The clash was clinched by India after a tense bowl-out. The secret reason behind the victory was the practice prior to the tournament. The players who hit the stumps the most numbers of times in the practice were picked first for the possible event. The practice by the Indian team prior to the contest was the mitigation plan. The probability and occurrence of super over (bowl-out) might be very unlikely but it was a very important step that saved India from a big defeat.

David vs Goliath – How Cyclone Phailin was defeated!

There are many risk reduction success stories around the world. One of the success stories happened in India. This story will explain the importance of both a mitigation plan and a contingency Plan. It is about how the Odisha State government saved many lives from Cyclone Phailin in October 2013. The maximum speed was 260km/h. The number of casualties was small compared with the previous similar disaster in late 90’s. Only 40 casualties were reported in the 2013 disaster compared to 10,000 lives in the previous disaster. How is this possible?

The risk of the cyclone was foreseen. The operation began with early warnings from the Indian Meteorological Department. The warning was disseminated 4 days before the expected date. The government set up a few mitigation plans such as accurate forecast, disaster response centers, Operation shut-down, response teams, etc.

The mitigation plan outlines the planning process for identifying and implementing actions to reduce or eliminate business losses, loss of life, property, functions, etc due to any type of hazards.

No, it was not yet victorious after the hit. It would be easy to expect massive damage caused by a 200km speed cyclone. Nearly 200,000 houses were damaged. 14,000 villages in 12 districts were affected. Thousands of trees were uprooted. Roads, boats, etc were badly damaged, and crops worth millions were destroyed. That’s when contingency plan steps are taken into action.The contingency plans set by the government are rehabilitation plans, emergency aid programs, etc.

It is important to understand that Contingency planning is not just about major disasters; it is about preparing for events such as loss of data, resources, customers, and other unknown disputes. When the response (PLAN A) to the situation is poor, it may cause a dramatic impact on the future of the business or environment. Then here comes PLAN B.


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Thoughts on “Contingency Plan vs Mitigation Plan”

  1. Gayathri Narayanan

    Good one Arun! The examples aptly describe the mitigation and contingency plans.

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