Guide to emergency management and related terms, definitions, concepts, acronyms, organizations, programs, guidance & legislation


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Cooperating Agency (ICS/NIMS): “An agency supplying assistance other than direct operational or support functions or resources to the incident management effort.” (DHS, NIMS, 2004, p. 128)
Cooperating Federal Agency: “Each Support Annex of the NRP identifies a coordinating Federal agency and cooperating agencies. When the procedures within a Support Annex are needed to support elements of an incident, the coordinating Federal agency will notify cooperating agencies of the circumstances. Cooperating agencies are responsible for conducting using their own authorities, subject-matter experts, capabilities, or resources and participating in planning for short-term and long-term incident management and recovery operations and the development of supporting operational plans, standard operating procedures, checklists, or other job aids, in concert with existing first-responder standards.” (FEMA, Mission Assignment SOPs Operating Draft, 2007, p. 55)
Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Program, FEMA NFIP: “With over 20,000 communities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), there is a significant challenge keeping flood hazard maps current. The Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Program is an innovative approach to creating partnerships between FEMA and participating NFIP communities, regional agencies, and State agencies that have the interest and capability to become more active participants in the FEMA flood hazard mapping program.” (FEMA, CTP Program, November 29, 2007)

Coordinate: “To advance systematically an analysis and exchange of information among principals who have or may have a need to know certain information to carry out specific incident management responsibilities.” (USG, USG Interagency Domestic Terrorism CONPLAN, 2001, Appendix B. Definitions, p. 1; see also, DHS, NIMS, 2004, p. 128)

Coordinate (Incidence Management): “To advance systematically an analysis and exchange of information among principals who have or may have a need to know certain information to carry out specific incident management responsibilities.” (FEMA, NIMS Draft, 2007, p. 149)
Coordinated (Core Principle of Emergency Management): “Coordinated: emergency managers synchronize the activities of all relevant stakeholders to achieve a common purpose.” (EM Roundtable, 2007, p. 4)
Coordinating Agencies: “Coordinating agencies described in the NRP annexes support the DHS incident management mission by providing the leadership, expertise and authorities to implement critical and specific aspects of the response.” (FEMA, Mission Assignment SOPs Operating Draft, 2007, p. 48)
Coordinating Agency: “An agency that supports the incident management mission by providing the leadership, expertise, and authorities to implement critical and specific aspects of the response. Responsible for orchestrating a coordinated response, provides staff for operations

functions, notifies and tasks cooperating agencies, manages tasks with cooperating agencies,

works with private-sector organizations, communicates ongoing activities to organizational

elements, plans for short- and long-term incident management and maintains trained personnel to execute their appropriate support responsibilities.” (JCS/DoD, Civil Support, 2007, p. Gl-7)

Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response (COTPER): “The mission of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response

(COTPER) is to protect health and enhance the potential for full, satisfying and productive living

across the lifespan of all people in all communities related to community preparedness and

response. To carry out its mission, COTPER (1) fosters collaborations, partnerships, integration, and resource leveraging to increase the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) health impact and achieve population health goals; (2) provides strategic direction to support CDC’s terrorism preparedness and emergency response efforts; (3) manages CDC-wide preparedness and emergency response programs; (4) maintains concerted emergency response operations—including the Strategic National Stockpile and the Director’s Emergency Operations Center; (5) communicates terrorism preparedness and emergency response activities to internal and external stakeholders.” (CDC, COTPER, 2005)

Coordination: “The process of systematically analyzing a situation, developing relevant information, and informing appropriate command authority of viable alternatives for selection of the most effective combination of available resources to meet specific objectives. The coordination process (which can be either intra-or inter-agency) does not involve dispatch actions. However, personnel responsible for coordination may perform command or dispatch functions within the limits established by specific agency delegations, procedures, legal authority, etc.” (CA OES, SEMS Guidelines, 2006, Glossary, p. 5)
Coordinator of Civil Defense Planning: Position created in the National Security Resources Board by President Truman on March 3, 1949, thereby transferring civil defense responsibility for the Office of Civil Defense Planning in the National Military Establishment. William A. Gill named Coordinator. (Gessert, Federal Civil Defense Organization, 1965, p. 63)
COP: Common Operating Picture. (DHS, Target Capabilities List, 2007, p. 34)
COP: Common Operational Picture. (DHS/IGO, Progress in Developing the National Asset Database, June 2006, Abbreviations)
COP-E: Continuity of Operations Plan-Essential. (DHS, Pandemic Influenza CIKR Guide, 2006, p, 19)

Coping Capacity: “The means by which people or organizations use available resources and abilities to face adverse consequences that could lead to a disaster. In general, this involves managing resources, both in normal times as well as during crises or adverse conditions. The strengthening of coping capacities usually builds resilience to withstand the effects of natural and human-induced hazards. (UN/ISDR, Terminology: Basic Terms of Disaster Risk Reduction, March 31, 2004)

CORE: Cadre of on-Call Response Employee (FEMA).
Corporate Security Review (CSR) Program: “The CSR program has gathered excellent

pipeline system data since its conception in 2003. The CSR program is an on-site security

review process with pipeline companies that is used to help establish working relationships with

key security representatives. CSRs give TSA an understanding of the pipeline operator’s

security plan and its implementation. The CSR process uses a standard protocol to capture

data on pipeline systems, which can be evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively to further

prioritize critical pipeline systems. During the CSR process, potentially critical assets are examined and catalogued based on their importance to the pipeline systems. Assets are identified and a link between the asset and the critical pipeline system will be documented.” (DHS, Transportation Sector-Specific Plan, Pipeline Modal Annex, Section 4, Risk-Based Approach to Pipeline Security, May 21 2007, p. 16)
Corporation for National and Community Service: “The mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. As we pursue our goals, we are guided by the following principles:

  • Put the needs of local communities first.

  • Strengthen the public-private partnerships that underpin all of our programs.

  • Use our programs to build stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable community networks capable of mobilizing volunteers to address local needs, including disaster preparedness and response.
  • Measure and continually improve our programs' benefits to service beneficiaries, participants, community organizations, and our national culture of service.

  • Build collaborations wherever possible across our programs and with other Federal programs.

  • Help rural and economically distressed communities obtain access to public and private resources.

  • Support diverse organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations, minority colleges, and disability organizations.

  • Use service-learning principles to put volunteer and service activities into an appropriate context that stimulates life-long civic engagement.

  • Support continued civic engagement, leadership, and public service careers for our programs' participants and community volunteers.

  • Exhibit excellence in management and customer service.”

(Corporation for National and Community Service. Our Mission and Guiding Principles, 2007)
Corporation for National and Community Service: “Provides teams of trained National Service Participants (including AmeriCorps members, Learn and Serve America volunteers, and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program volunteers) to carry out a wide range of response and recovery support activities emphasizing disadvantaged communities and special needs residents, including:

  • Canvassing, needs assessment, and information distribution.

  • Shelter and feeding support; and distribution of water, food, ice, and other emergency goods.

  • Debris clearance, temporary roof repair, and elimination of identified health/safety hazards.

  • Unaffiliated volunteer support and warehousing assistance.

  • Registration and call center support.
  • Case management assistance.” (DHS, National Response Framework Emergency Support Function #6 Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services Annex (Comment Draft), September 10, 2007, p. 15)

Corrective Action Program (CAP): “The CAP system is a web-based application that allows Federal, State, territorial, tribal and local emergency response and homeland security officials to track and analyze improvements in their COOP plans.” (DHS, Fed. Cont. Direct. 1, 2007, P-3)
Corrective Action Program: “There are eight components in the Corrective Action Program…

(1) Develop a problem statement that states the problem and identifies its impact

(2) Review the past history of corrective action issues from previous evaluations and identify possible solutions to the problem

(3) Select a corrective action strategy and prioritize the actions to be taken, as well as an associated schedule for completion

(4) Provide authority and resources to the individual assigned to implementation so that the designated change can be accomplished

(5) Identify the resources required to implement the strategy

(6) Check on the progress of completing the corrective action

(7) Forward problems that need to be resolved by higher authorities to the level of authority that can resolve the problem

(8) Test the solution through exercising once the problem is solved.” (NFPA 1600, 2007, pp. 18-19)

Corrective Action Program (CAP) System: “The Corrective Action Program (CAP) System is a web-based application that allows Federal, State, and local emergency response and homeland security officials to track and analyze Improvement Plans. The Department of Homeland Security is developing this system as part of a larger effort to systematically translate Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) outputs—including findings, areas for improvement, recommendations, lessons learned, and best practices—into meaningful inputs for homeland security plans, programs, and budgets.” (HSC, NCPIP, August 2007, p. 61)

[Note: The CAP System was made available to the DHS stakeholder community in Nov. 2006,]
Corrective Actions: “Implementing procedures that are based on lessons learned from actual incidents or from training and exercises.” (FEMA, NIMS Draft, August 2007, p. 149)
Cost-Benefit Analysis: “A process used to select countermeasures, by balancing the costs of implementing each option against the benefits derived from it. In general, the cost of managing risks needs to be equal to the benefits gained from putting the countermeasures in place. The benefit of this technique is the attempt to ensure public investment is directed toward those activities producing the greatest benefits for the best value for money. The limitations of the technique include the lack of data collection and methods that are required to capture indirect and intangible costs and benefits, legal and social responsibility requirements may override simple financial cost benefit analysis, and the possibility that its application may disadvantage certain measures or people.” (UNDAP, Techniques Used in Disaster Risk Assessment, 2008)
Cost-Efficiency: “FEMA continually strives to improve performance while reducing operating costs. Initiatives include re-engineering our processes, streamlining Agency operations, reducing regulations, leveraging state-of-the-art technology, and enhancing our ability to measure success and redirect efforts to maximize effectiveness.” (FEMA, Strategic Plan FY 1998, 1997, 33)

Cost-Share Adjustments: “For work performed by State and local jurisdictions under the PA program, an upward adjustment to the 75/25 percent Federal/non-Federal ratio of sharing total eligible costs for repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement of facilities. Cost-share adjustments cannot exceed 90/10 percent for the Federal/non-Federal cost-share ratio. The cost-share for the Individual and Family Grant program or the Hazard Mitigation program may not be adjusted.” (FEMA, Mission Assignment SOPs Operating Draft, 2007, p. 48)

COTPER: Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, CDC.
COTS: Commercial, Off-The Shelf. (DA, WMD-CST Operations, Dec 2007, Glossary-2)
Counter Measures: “All measures taken to counter and reduce disaster risk. They most commonly refer to engineering (structural) measures but can also include non-structural measures and tools designed and employed to avoid or limit the adverse impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters.” (UN/ISDR, Terminology: Basic Terms of Disaster Risk Reduction, March 31, 2004)
Counterterrorism (CT): “Counterterrorism - is responsive or reactive to terrorist threats or attacks. It entails using "active measures... which incorporate the direct intervention of terrorists groups or the targeting… of terrorist personnel."8 (DHS, The ODP Guidelines…, 2003, Glossary, p. 1)
Counterterrorism (CT): “Operations that include the offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism.” (DoD, DOD Dictionary of Military and Related Terms, 2007)
Counterterrorism (CT): “…usually describes proactive measures, including targeting terrorist personnel and supporters” (as opposed to Antiterrorism). (Sauter & Carafano 2005, 261)

Counterterrorism (CT): “The full range of activities directed against terrorism, including preventive, deterrent, response and crisis management efforts.” (USG, USG Interagency Domestic Terrorism CONPLAN, 2001, Appendix B: Definitions)

Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG): “The CSG is an interagency body convened on a regular basis to develop terrorism prevention policy and to coordinate threat response and law enforcement investigations associated with terrorism. This staff-level group evaluates various policy issues of interagency import regarding counterterrorism and makes recommendations to Cabinet and agency deputies and principals for decision. As appropriate, the chair of the National Security Council and Cabinet principals will present such policy issues to the President for decision. The CSG has no role regarding operational management during an actual incident.” (DHS, NRF Comment Draft, September 2007, pp. 51-52)

Counterterrorism (CT) Support: “Acting through the FBI, the Attorney General, in cooperation with the heads of other Federal departments, agencies, and military criminal

investigative organizations, coordinates domestic intelligence collection and the activities of the

law enforcement community to detect, prevent, preempt, and disrupt terrorist attacks, and to

identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice in the event of a terrorist incident. DOD may

be requested to support the FBI or other LEAs during the CrM portion of a response. If there is

a credible threat, DOD may also be requested to support LEAs in a pre-positioning of forces.

Under this type of support, specific RUF must be established and approved. In the absence of

preexisting RUF, such as are contained in DODD 5210.56, Use of Deadly Force and the Carrying of Firearms by DOD Personnel Engaged in Law Enforcement and Security Duties, requests for RUF [rules for the use of force] for CS missions will be sent through the supported combatant commander to DOD for development and approval. Supplemental RUF may be required depending on the situation. For more information on CT see JP 3-07.2, Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Antiterrorism.” (JCS/DoD, Homeland Security, 2005, p. IV-6)

Course of Action (COA) Analysis (DHS): “COA Analysis, also known as ‘WARGAMING,’ identifies which COA accomplishes the mission with minimum risk and best positions capabilities/resources to prevent, respond, to, and/or recover from national domestic incidents. The war game is a disciplined process, with rules and steps designed to attempt to visualize the flow of an operation. It relies heavily on doctrinal foundation, judgment, and experience.” (DHS, 2007)
Course of Action (COA) Comparison (DHS): “COA Comparison displays the information obtained during COA Analysis into a matrix format. Each COA is rated based on weighted criteria in order to present a quantified basis for leadership decision making. This phase ends at the completion of the COA Decision Brief provided to senior leadership.” (DHS, 2007)
Course of Action (COA) Statement (DHS): “The COA statement clearly articulates how the organization will accomplish the mission and explain the sequence of response to include:

  • Mission

  • End State

  • Who, how, where, and why (purpose)

  • Address risk and where it may occur for the organization.” (DHS, Interagency Planning Workshop, November 29, 2007, slide 36)

CP: Command Post. (Dept. of the Army, WMD-CST Operations, December 2007, p. 5-6)
CPCC: Continuity Policy Coordination Committee. (HSC, NCPIP, August 2007, p. 22)
CPE: Command Post Exercise. (DHS, US DHS Announces Completion of TOPOFF 4, 6/22/06)
CPG: Civil Preparedness Guide.
CPG: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide.

CPTED: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. (DHS, The ODP Guidelines…, 2003, p. 15)

CPX: Command Post Exercise. (DHS, HSEEP, Vol. V, 2005, p. 41; DOD Dictionary, 2007)
CRA: Community Risk Assessment. (ProVention Consortium, 2006)
Crate & Ship: “A strategy for providing alternate processing capability in a disaster, via contractual arrangements with an equipment supplier, to ship replacement hardware within a specified time period. SIMILAR TERMS: Guaranteed Replacement, Drop Ship, Quick Ship.(DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 51)
CRCL: Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, DHS.
CRED: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.
Credentialing: “The credentialing process is an objective evaluation and documentation of a person’s current license or degree; training or experience; competence or certification; and the ability to meet nationally accepted minimum standards, to provide particular services and/or functions or perform particular procedures during an incident.” FEMA, National Incident Management System (FEMA 501/Draft), August 2007, p. 39)
Credentialing: “Providing documentation that can authenticate and verify the certification and identity of designated incident managers and emergency responders.” (FEMA, National Incident Management System (FEMA 501/Draft), August 2007, p.149)
CREST: Community Response Emergency Simulation Training, DOD.
CREW: Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup.
CRI: Cities Readiness Initiative (CDC).

Crisis: “…a decisive or critical moment or turning point when things can take a dramatic turn, normally for the worse…” (Allinson 1993, 93; based upon Webster’s New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 2nd ed.)

Crisis: “A critical event, which, if not handled in an appropriate manner, may dramatically impact an organization’s profitability, reputation, or ability to operate. Or, an occurrence and/or perception that threatens the operations, staff, shareholder value, stakeholders, brand, reputation, trust and/or strategic/business goals of an organization.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 51)
Crisis: “An incident or situation involving a threat to a nation, its territories, citizens, military forces, possessions, or vital interests that develops rapidly and creates a condition of such diplomatic, economic, political, or military importance that commitment of military forces and resources is contemplated to achieve national objectives.” (DoD, DOD Dictionary of Military and Related Terms, 2007)
Crisis: “Definition of a Crisis:

  • Normal operational procedures are severely impacted

  • Traumatic events or situations occur

  • The lives and the well-being of employees are directly impacted.” (DOJ, CMP, 2002, p. 3)

Crisis: Short period of extreme danger, acute emergency. (D&E Reference Center 1998)

Crisis: “Crises involve events and processes that carry severe threat, uncertainty, an unknown outcome, and urgency…Most crises have trigger points so critical as to leave historical marks on nations, groups, and individual lives. Crises are historical points of reference, distinguishing between the past and the present….Crises come in a variety of forms, such as terrorism (New York World Trade Center and Oklahoma bombings), natural disasters (Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew in Florida, the Holland and Bangladesh flood disasters), nuclear plant accidents (Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl), riots (Los Angeles riot and the Paris riot of 1968, or periodic prison riots), business crises, and organizational crises facing life-or-death situations in a time of rapid environmental change….Crises consist of a ‘short chain of events that destroy or drastically weaken’ a condition of equilibrium and the effectiveness of a system or regime within a period of days, weeks, or hours rather than years….Surprises characterize the dynamics of crisis situations…Some crises are processes of events leading to a level of criticality or degree of intensity generally out of control. Crises often have past origins, and diagnosing their original sources can help to understand and manage a particular crisis or lead it to alternative state of condition” (Farazmand 2001, 3-4)

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