Purpose The purpose is to indicate that the conventional graphical expression of cyclic stages of stages of disaster activities is still irrelevantly used in communications. Design/methodology/approach Latent assumptions of the disaster cycle (DC) depiction are scrutinized. The nature of current organizational units responsible for carrying out related tasks and equipped with contemporary technology and know-how are clarified. It is indicated that the operations of these organizations today have no resemblance to any cyclic sequence. Findings With all of its various mutations, DC does not only represent an outdated conceptualization of disaster-related activities but also conceals the globally adopted priority currently given to risk reduction policy. The contemporary organizational setup based on mitigation efforts depends on highly specialized units and teams simultaneously dedicated to the different aspects of risk management tasks. Practical implications DC is to be taken as a representative understanding of a past policy environment. It is no more an explanation of current disaster affairs and must be removed from circulation. Originality/value The argument serves to disregard past policy concepts, clarify the new organizational setup in disaster management and help adopt communications to current realities.