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


ADVISE: Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement. Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction

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ADVISE: Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement.
Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction: “This Committee is charged with

assessing trends and developments in the science and engineering of earthquake hazards reduction; the effectiveness of NEHRP; the need to revise NEHRP; and the management, coordination, and implementation of NEHRP.” (NEHRP, Annual Report, 2007, p. 3)


ADVON: Advanced Element, National Guard WMD Civil Support Teams. (DA, WMD CST Operations, 2007, p. 2-1)
AEC: Agency Emergency Coordinators. (USACE, CDRP, Anchorage, 2005, p. Y-1-3)
AEM: Associate Emergency Manager (IAEM managed credential).
AFO: Area Field Office. (DHS Joint Field Office Activation and Operations: Interagency Integrated Standard Operating Procedure, Appendixes and Annexes Version 8.3, April 2006, 1)
AFR: Analysis of Federal Requirements.
AFRRI: Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, DOD.
After Action Reports: “Reports that summarize and analyze performance in both exercises and actual events. The reports for exercises may also evaluate achievement of the selected exercise objectives and demonstration of the overall capabilities being exercised.” (FEMA, NIMS Compliance Metrics Terms of Reference (For Fiscal Year 2007), October 23, 2006, p. 1)

After Action Reports: “While after action reports can help emergency responders and managers tune their strategies, experienced emergency managers assert privately that these reports have become pro forma. Few officials are willing to publicly highlight their mistakes. None are authorized to question the wisdom of local or state policies that may have increased threats, vulnerabilities and consequences.” (Little Hoover, Safeguarding Golden…, 2006, 58)

Aftershock: “Earthquakes that follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence. They are smaller than the “mainshock” and can occur over a period of weeks, months, or years. In general, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks and the longer they will continue.” (USGS, Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country, 2007, Glossary)
AGAUS: Adjutants General Association of the United States.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): “The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is a federal public health agency. Its mission is to prevent exposure and adverse human health effects and diminished quality of life associated with exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites, unplanned releases, and other sources of pollution present in the environment.” (CDC/ATSDR, Principles of Community Engagement, 1997, Contributors section)
Agroterrorism: “Agroterrorism is the deliberate introduction of a chemical or a disease agent, either against livestock/crops or into the food chain, for the purpose of undermining stability and/or generating fear.” (Florida Office of Agricultural Emergency Preparedness, About Us, Accessed October 23, 2007; see, also, CRS, Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness, 2004)
AHA: American Hospital Association.
AHIMT: All Hazard Incident Management Team. (USFA, AHIMT Technical Assistance Pgm.)
AHRQ: Agency for Health Research and Quality.
AI: Area of Interest. (Dept. of the Army, WMD-CST Operations, December 2007, p. 1-3)

Air Burst: “The explosion of a nuclear weapon at such a height that the expanding fireball does not touch the earth's surface when the luminosity is a maximum (in the second pulse).” (Glasstone, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (3rd Edition), 1977, Glossary, p. 629)

Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association (Alabama Beach Pool): “Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association (Alabama Beach Pool) is a voluntary unincorporated nonprofit association established to provide essential residential and commercial insurance coverage to the beach area counties of Baldwin and Mobile. Twelve percent of Alabamans live on the coast. Every licensed property insurer in the state is a member of the Alabama Beach Pool. The Beach Pool offers two types of policies: fire and extended coverage, and wind and hail. The Beach Pool offers coverage limits on residential buildings up to a maximum of $500,000, combined dwelling and contents. A hurricane deductible of 5 percent ($1,000 minimum) is applicable in the event of a named storm. Policies covering property located in certain areas may opt for a 2 percent hurricane deductible for an additional premium. The standard deductible for all other perils is $500. Buildings must conform to the Southern Standard Building Code…” (GAO, Natural Disasters, Public Policy Options…, Nov 2007, p. 69; see, also, p. 70)
ALARA: As low as reasonably achievable (relates to decontamination). (Dept. of the Army, WMD-CST Operations, December 2007, p. B-3)
Alarm: “Signal giving warning of danger.” (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, p. 17)
ALE: Annual Loss Exposure/Expectancy. (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, 47)

Alert: “Notification that a potential disaster situation exists or has occurred; direction for recipient to standby for possible activation of disaster recovery plan. A formal notification that an incident has occurred, which may develop into a disaster.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 46)

Alert: “The term ‘alert’ refers to any text, voice, video, or other information provided by an authorized official to provide situational awareness to the public and/or private sector about a potential or ongoing emergency situation that may require actions to protect life, health, and property. An alert does not necessarily require immediate actions to protect life, health, and property and is typically issued in connection with immediate danger.” (DHS, TCL, 2007, 421)
Alert: “Advisory that hazard is approaching but is less imminent than implied by warning message. See also ‘warning’.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 17)
Alert America Convoy Program: “…developed during the later months of 1951. Operated by the Valley Foundation, Inc., in cooperation with FCDA, they are intended to carry civil defense information directly to the American people and to spearhead local civil defense education and participation for recruitment. The exhibits offer highly dramatic visualizations of the entire civil defense problem. Through photographs, movies, three-dimensional mock-ups, and scientific action-dioramas they depict the possible uses of atomic energy in both peace and war…. Three of these exhibits, each mounted on a 10-truck convoy, will visit target cities in many States.” (FCDA, Annual Report 1951, 1952, p. 27)

All-Effects Survey: “During the fiscal year [1973], an all-effects survey was developed and tested. This all-effects survey, which includes direct weapons effects and natural disaster protection, is being implemented during the summer of 1973. Also during the year, contracts were negotiated with several States to fund engineering personnel to conduct State shelter surveys. This action was in keeping with the adjusted national program designed to better meet State and local needs.” (DCPA, Foresight, DCPA Annual Report FY 73, 1974, pp. 15-16)

All Disasters/Emergencies Are Local: “Local officials – more so than their state or federal counterparts – are familiar with the culture and needs of their community, where vulnerable residents reside, the resources and geography of the area and the threats and vulnerabilities

facing their region…. The emergency plan recognizes that most emergency events truly are



local and do not require more than the support of neighboring jurisdictions.” (Little Hoover Commission, Safeguarding the Golden State…, 2007, 7)
All Hands Network: “All Hands is both an emergency management community and consulting consortium. All Hands was developed to support a network of emergency management, homeland security, and business continuity professionals who join together to share information and resources. The All Hands community includes public sector employees, consultants, volunteers and other professionals involved in emergency management, homeland security and business continuity.” (All Hands Consulting – All Hands Network, About All Hands, 2006)
All-Hazard: “Any incident or event, natural or human caused, that requires an organized response by a public, private, and/or governmental entity in order to protect life, public health and safety, values to be protected, and to minimize any disruption of governmental, social, and economic services.” (USCG, IM Handbook, 2006, Glossary 25-1)

All Hazard Civil Preparedness: “In keeping with President Nixon’s desire to make the Federal Government more responsive to the needs of State and local governments, the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA) program takes into account all of the hazards and dangers which confront the Nation’s population today.” (DCPA, “All-Hazard Civil Preparedness,” Foresight, 1974, p. 1)azardHH


All Hazard Incident Management Team (AHIMT): “A multi-agency/multi-jurisdiction team for extended incidents formed and managed at the State, regional or metropolitan level. Deployed as a team of 10-20 trained personnel to manage major and/or complex incidents requiring a significant number of local, regional, and state resources, and incidents that extend into multiple operational periods and require a written IAP. May be utilized at incidents such as a tornado touchdown, earthquake, flood, or multi-day hostage/standoff situation, or at planned mass-gathering events. May initially manage larger, more complex incidents prior to arrival of and transition to a Type 2 or Type 1 IMT.” (USFA, About Incident Management Teams, 2007)
All Hazard Incident Management Team (AHIMT) Technical Assistance Program: “The goal is to support the development of one All-Hazard IMT in each DHS Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) region, each State, and other high-risk areas. DHS has identified the UASI regions as high-threat areas, and generally are comprised of major metropolitan areas. Those UASI regions setting up Multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional IMTs can request the training, as can States setting up similar IMTs. Funding, delivery support, and appropriate student cadre availability are also considerations. In addition, any area falling under the guidelines that have been addressed by DHS as having an immediate potential threat or hosting a National Special Security Event will get immediate consideration.” (USFA, AHIMT Technical Assistance Program, 2007)

All Hazard Survey: This “activity conducted on-site (at the locality) consists of surveying local needs and making an ‘all-hazard’ evaluation, i.e., determining what type of natural or other disaster the locality has experienced or might experience in the future.” (DCPA, On-Site Assistance (MP 63), 1974, p. 10)

All-Hazards: “The spectrum of all types of hazards including accidents, technological events, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, warfare, and chemical, biological including pandemic influenza, radiological, nuclear, or explosive events.” (DHS, Fed. Cont. Direct. 1, 2007, p. P-1)
All-Hazards: “Definition. Grouping classification encompassing all conditions, environmental or manmade, that have the potential to cause injury, or death; damage to or loss of equipment, infrastructure services, or property; or alternately causing functional degradation to societal, economic or environmental aspects. Annotation: All hazards preparedness ensures that if disaster occurs, people are ready to get through it safely, and respond to it effectively. FEMA began development of an Integrated Emergency Management System with an all-hazards approach that included ‘direction, control and warning systems which are common to the full range of emergencies from small isolated events to the ultimate emergency – war.” (DHS, Lexicon, October 23, 2007, p. 1)
All-Hazards: “An approach for prevention, protection, preparedness, response, and recovery that addresses a full range of threats and hazards, including domestic terrorist attacks, natural and manmade disasters, accidental disruptions, and other emergencies.” (DHS, NIPP, 2006, p. 103)

All Hazards: “Any incident, natural or manmade, that warrants action to protect life, property, environment, public health or safety, and minimize disruptions of government, social, or economic activities.” (FEMA, NIMS (FEMA 501/Draft), August 2007, p. 147; see as well. National Response Framework Resource Center Glossary/Acronyms, September 2007 draft.)

All Hazards: “All-Hazards refers to preparedness for domestic terrorist attacks, major natural or man-made disasters, and other emergencies.” (NCR, National Capital Region Homeland Security Strategic Plan 2007-2009 – Overview, August 2006, p. 4)
All Hazards Approach: Since 9/11, the…Administration has adopted an all-hazards, one-size-fits-all approach to disaster planning. By assuming that the same preparedness model can be applied to any kind of disaster —whether biological, chemical, explosive, natural or nuclear—the all-hazards approach fails to take into account essential specifics of the nature of the virus or bacteria, how it is transmitted, and whether infection can be prevented or treated.” (ACLU, Pandemic Preparedness, 2008, 6)

“Unfortunately, this approach is virtually useless, if not counterproductive. That is because each hazard has its own unique features. Planning for levee protection in New Orleans will not help prepare for an earthquake in San Francisco or a terrorist explosion in New York or Washington, D.C., anymore than planning for a chemical or nuclear attack will help prepare us for a bird flu pandemic or a smallpox attack. Nor are generic all-hazards plans for a public health emergency, including “model” laws to implement mass quarantines, of any use in a storm, flood, fire, earthquake, chemical attack, or nuclear or conventional arms attack. The effect of the one-size-fits-all approach is to suggest that no matter what happens, be it flu or bioterrorism, a law enforcement/national security approach is required…. In principle, the idea that the country should be prepared for all types of potential emergencies is sound. In practice, however, planning for “all hazards” has failed to take into account the most important factor that drives disasters—the particular hazard itself, whether biological, chemical, explosive or nuclear.” (ACLU, Pandemic Prep., 2008, 16)

All Hazards Approach: “The Civil Preparedness program of the seventies will emphasize the total spectrum of activities that local jurisdictions require and will place greater stress on the use and development of resources applicable to peacetime as well as wartime emergencies. The emphasis of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency will be to help local governments improve their readiness for any type of emergency. This includes an all-hazards approach to emergency planning with consideration of all contingencies that a disaster may generate, including sudden or gradual onset of the disaster.” (DCPA, Local Disaster Preparedness Course Syllabus, June 1973, Preface)
All-Hazards Approach: “Emergency management must be able to respond to natural and manmade hazards, homeland security-related incidents, and other emergencies that may threaten the safety and well-being of citizens and communities. An all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness encourages effective and consistent response to any disaster or emergency, regardless of the cause.” (DHS/ODP, FY2006 EMPG Program Guidance, 2005, p. 6)
All-Hazards Approach: “The “all-hazards” approach to preparedness means we need to weigh the likelihood and consequences of a broad array of threats. These include, but are not limited to: extremes in weather, industrial hazards, viral pathogens, and of course, terrorism that can take

many forms.” (Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, National Capital Region



Homeland Security Strategic Plan 2007-2009, August 2006)

All-Hazards Approach: “An integrated hazard management strategy that incorporates planning for and consideration of all potential natural and technological hazards.” (National Science and Technology Council 2005, 17)

All-Hazards Approach: “ALL-HAZARDS APPROACH.—In carrying out the responsibilities

under this section, the Administrator shall coordinate the implementation of a risk-based, all-hazards strategy that builds those common capabilities necessary to prepare for, protect against,



respond to, recover from, or mitigate against natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, while also building the unique capabilities necessary to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, or mitigate against the risks of specific types of incidents that pose the greatest risk to the Nation.” (Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, Title VI, Sec. 503, pp.1399-1400 of DHS Appropriations Act, 2007)
All-Hazards Approach: “The commonalities among all types of technological and natural disasters suggest that many of the same management strategies can apply to all such emergencies.” (Zymanek, Comprehensive Emergency Management, p. 4)
All-Hazards Focus: Employ an “all-hazards” focus. Hospitals must be prepared to respond to any type of emergency or disaster facing their communities, not just bioterrorism. Therefore, the title of and provisions in the law regarding how hospital readiness funding may be used should reflect this “all-hazards” planning focus.” (American Hospital Association, Protecting and Improving Care for Patients and Communities: Emergency Readiness, 2006, p. 1)
All-Hazards Preparedness: “The term ‘all-hazards preparedness’ refers to preparedness for domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.” (WH, HSPD-8, p.1, Dec. 2003)

All-Hazards Public Health System: “An all-hazards public health system is one that is able to respond to and protect citizens from the full spectrum of possible public health emergencies, including bioterrorism and naturally occurring health threats. An all-hazards system recognizes that preparing for one threat can have benefits that will help prepare public health departments for all potential threats. Under an all-hazards approach, the public health system prepares for and is able to respond to unique concerns posed by different threats.” (Trust For America’s Health, Ready or Not? 2007, 11)

All Perils Homeowners Insurance: An “all-perils homeowners insurance policy—would help create broad participation and could provide a private sector solution. But this option could also require subsidies for low-income residents and thus potentially create substantial costs for the federal government that would have to be balanced against money saved from reduced disaster relief.” (GAO, Natural Disasters: Public Policy Options…, Nov 2007, 33)
All Risks: “…attack, man-made, and natural, in a federal-state-local partnership.” (NGA, CEM: A Governor’s Guide, 1979, p. 11)
All-WME: All Weapons of Mass Effect. (DHS/OIG, ADVISE Report, June 2007, Abbreviations)
Alluvial Fan: “An area at the base of a valley where the slope flattens out, allowing the floodwater to decrease in speed and spread out, dropping sediment over a fan-shaped area.” (ASFPM, National Flood Programs and Polices in Review—2007, 2007, p. 92)
Alluvial Fan Flooding: “Flooding occurring on the surface of an alluvial fan or similar landform which originates at the apex and is characterized by high-velocity flows; active processes of erosion, sediment transport, and deposition; and unpredictable flowpaths. Alluvial fan flooding is depicted on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as Zone AO, with a flood depth and velocity.” (FEMA, Alluvial Fan Flooding, 2007)

Alpha Particle: “A particle emitted spontaneously from the nuclei of some radioactive elements. It is identical with a helium nucleus, having a mass of four units and an electric charge of two positive units.” (Glasstone, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd Ed., 1977, Glossary, p. 629)

ALS: Analytical Laboratory System. (DA, WMD-CST Operations, Dec. 2007, Glossary 1)
Alternate Facilities: “Locations, other than the primary facility, used to carry out essential functions, particularly in a continuity situation. “Alternate facilities” refers to not only other locations, but also nontraditional options such as working at home (“teleworking”), telecommuting, and mobile-office concepts.” (DHS, Fed. Cont. Direct. 1, Nov 2007, p. P.1)
Alternate Site: “An alternate operating location to be used by business functions when the primary facilities are inaccessible. 1) Another location, computer center or work area designated for recovery. 2) Location, other than the main facility, that can be used to conduct business functions. 3) A location, other than the normal facility, used to process data and/or conduct critical business functions in the event of a disaster. Related Terms: Cold Site, Hot Site, Interim Site, Internal Hot site, Recovery Site, Warm Site.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 46)
Alternate Work Area: “Office recovery environment complete with necessary office infrastructure (desk, telephone, workstation, and associated hardware, communications, etc.); also referred to as Work Space or Alternative work site.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 46)

Alternative Care Sites: “Alternative care sites generally are defined as “locations, preexisting or created, that serve to expand the capacity of a hospital or community to accommodate or care for patients or to protect the general population from infected individuals during mass casualty incidents.” 1The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations lists 3 types of alternative care sites:

Facilities of opportunity, which are defined as non-medical buildings which, because of

their size or proximity to a medical center, can be adapted into surge hospitals;

Mobile medical facilities, which are mobile surge hospitals based on tractor-trailer platforms with surgical and intensive care capabilities; and

Portable facilities, which are mobile medical facilities that can be set up quickly and are fully equipped, self-contained, turnkey systems usually stored in a container system and based on military medical contingency planning.”2 (Trust for America’s Health, Ready or Not 2007, p. 64)


AMAS: Alabama Mutual Aid System.
Amateur Radio Disaster Services (ARDS). Previously Amateur Radio Emergency Services.
American Homeland: “‘American homeland’ or ‘homeland’ means the United States, in a geographic sense.” (Homeland Security Act of 2002, p. 3)

American Red Cross: “The American Red Cross serves as the primary support agency

to DHS for coordinating mass care support with other non-government organizations during

disaster relief and CM operations. Support may include shelter, feeding, emergency first aid, disaster welfare information, bulk distribution, supportive counseling, blood, and blood products.” (JCS/DoD, Homeland Security (JP 3-26)), 2005, p. II-21)




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