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

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)


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American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): ASTM International is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world….originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), was formed over a century ago... Today, ASTM continues to play a leadership role in addressing the standardization needs of the global marketplace. Known for its best in class practices for standards development and delivery, ASTM is at the forefront in the use of innovative technology to help its members do standards development work, while also increasing the accessibility of ASTM International standards to the world.” (ASTM, About ASTM International, 2007)
Amplitude: “The difference between zero level and peak of any wave such as a seismic wave.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 17)
AMS: Area Maritime Security.
AMSC: Area Maritime Security Committee. (GAO, Maritime Security, December 2007, p. iv)
AMSP: Area Maritime Security Plan. (GAO, Maritime Security, December 2007, p. 55)
Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE) System: The “(ADVISE) system enables intelligence analysts to search rapidly and integrate information to identify and understand potential threats to homeland security.” (DHS/OIG, ADVISE Report, June 2007. Preface)
Anemometer: “Instrument which measures wind speed or wind speed and direction.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 17)

ANGI: Air National Guard Instruction. (DA, WMD-CST Operations, Dec 2007, Glossary 1)

Analytical Laboratory System (ALS): “A C-130 air-transportable system that uses commercial, off-the-shelf equipment to conduct analysis of chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial materials, and biological warfare agents at the incident site. It has the capability of establishing communications to local, state, and federal laboratories and other agencies for confirmatory analysis of the suspect agent.” (DA, WMD-CST Operations, 2007, Glossary-7)
Annual Flood: “Highest peak discharge in a year.” (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, p. 18)
Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE): “The Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE) is the expected monetary loss that can be expected for an asset due to a risk over a one year period. It is defined as: ALE = SLE * ARO -- where SLE is the Single Loss Expectancy and ARO is the Annualized Rate of Occurrence.

An important feature of the Annualized Loss Expectancy is that it can be used directly in a cost-benefit analysis. If a threat or risk has an ALE of $5,000, then it may not be worth spending $10,000 per year on a security measure which will eliminate it.

One thing to remember when using the ALE value is that, when the Annualized Rate of Occurrence is of the order of one loss per year, there can be considerable variance in the actual loss. For example, suppose the ARO is 0.5 and the SLE is $10,000. The Annualized Loss Expectancy is then $5,000, a figure we may be comfortable with.” (Risky Thinking (Risk Management, Disaster Recovery, and Business), A Glossary of Risk Related Terms, 2007)

Annualized Loss Exposure/Expectancy (ALE): “A risk management method of calculating loss based on a value and level of frequency.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Wkshop, 2006, 47)

Annualized Rate of Occurrence: “The probability that a risk will occur in a particular year.

For example, if insurance data suggests that a serious fire is likely to occur once in 25 years, then the annualized rate of occurrence is 1/25 = 0.04.” (Risky Thinking (Risk Management, Disaster Recovery, and Business), A Glossary of Risk Related Terms, 2007)

Annex I to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, National Planning. “This Annex is intended to further enhance the preparedness of the United States by formally establishing a standard and comprehensive approach to national planning. It is meant to provide guidance for conducting planning in accordance with the Homeland Security Management System in the National Strategy for Homeland Security of 2007. (White House, Annex I to HSPD-8, 2007)

Anniversary Effect: “`As often happens immediately following a major flood event, the number of flood insurance policies in force… [increase]… But our experience…has shown many of those new policies are not renewed after the first year or two if no new floods occur… People tend to forget how bad it was or think that something that bad couldn't possibly occur in the same place again. But they are sadly mistaken. These big flood events will happen again’." [Quote is that of FEMA NFIP Deputy Administrator Howard Leikin in 2002] “NFIP studies have documented the drop-off in policy counts when these policies reach their first or second anniversary of purchase, a phenomenon that has been termed the "anniversary effect." In many cases, the policy count returns to its pre-disaster level or below… flood insurance policies in force in the upper Midwest increased by an astounding 60.7 percent within a few months after the Upper Midwest Flood of April 1997, but a year later dropped dramatically to less than the number of policies in force the month before the flood.” (FEMA, FEMA Warns…, 2002)

ANSS: Advanced National Seismic System. (USGS, ANSS, 2007)
Antecedent Precipitation Index: “Weighted summation of past daily precipitation amounts, used as an index of soil moisture.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 18)
Anticyclone: “(area of high pressure, high): A region where barometric pressure is high or relative to that in the surrounding regions at the same level.” (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, 17)
Anti-Terrorism: “AntiTerrorism - preventive in nature. I t entails using "passive and defensive

measures... such as education, foreign liaison training, surveillance, and countersurveillance, designed to deter terrorist activities." It is an “integrated, comprehensive approach … to counter the terrorist threat The concept has two phases: proactive and reactive. The proactive phase encompasses the planning, resourcing, preventive measures, preparation, awareness education, and training that take place before a terrorist incident. The reactive phase includes the crisis

management actions taken to resolve a terrorist incident.”3 (DHS, The ODP Guidelines…, 2003, Glossary, p. 1 (28))
Antiterrorism: “…generally used to describe passive or defensive measures against terrorism…” (Sauter & Carafano 2005, 261) See, also, Counterterrorism.
Anti-Terrorism CPTED Target Hardening:

  • Assess threat, risk, and vulnerability;

  • Balance CPTED strategies against the threat, risk, and

  • vulnerability;
  • Employ the appropriate CPTED [Crime Prevention through Environmental Design] measures, given the level of threat, risk, and vulnerability. Measures may include:

    • Install adequate security lighting;

    • Use planters and bollards as impediments or obstacles to prevent cars or trucks from driving into or parking close to potential targets;

    • Use security cameras in key locations;

    • Increase police presence at sensitive locations;

    • Use random inspection of trucks/vans entering target-rich environments;

    • Establish protocol for searches of people and their possessions when entering large gatherings;

    • Adopt biometric technology, where applicable, to enhance access control and identification. (DHS, The ODP Guidelines…, 2003, p. 15)

AO: Area of Operation. (Dept. of the Army, WMD-CST Operations, December 2007, p. 1-3)
AO: Action Officer. (FEMA, Mission Assignment SOPs Operating Draft, July 2007, p. 17)
AOR: Area(s) of Responsibility.
AP: Adaptive Planning.
APA: American Planning Association.
APHL: Association of Public Health Laboratories.
APHS/CT: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (also serves as the National Continuity Coordinator). (White House, HSPD-20, May 9, 2007)

APIC: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
APIO: Advanced Public Information Officer Course. FEMA resident course taught at the Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, MD.

APNSA: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. (DHS, FCD 1, Nov 2007, 13)

APO: Accountable Property Officer. (FEMA, Mission Assignment SOPs Draft, July 2007, 6)
Application Recovery: “The component of Disaster Recovery that deals specifically with the restoration of business system software and data after the processing platform has been restored or replaced. Similar terms: Business System Recovery.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop, 2006, p. 46)
Applied Technology Council (ATC): “…an organization which develops engineering resources for use in mitigating the effects of natural and other hazards on the built environment…” (NEHRP, Annual Report, 2007, p. 13; ATC, )
ARC: American (National) Red Cross.

Architects and Engineers Professional Development Program: “In recognition of the greater need for preparedness to meet the full spectrum of disasters – natural as well as nuclear – DCPA initiated a broader program during fiscal year 1973. A new professional development course titled Multi-Protection Design was developed and pilot-tested during the year, with a total of more than 600 architects and engineers in attendance. These courses emphasized slanting techniques to be used during the design phase in new construction or in the remodeling of existing structures at little or no additional cost to the building owner. Application of these techniques could result in lifesaving shelters to protect people from the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, as well as from the effects of nuclear attack…. To provide architects, engineers, and others with technical information on environmental hazards and natural disasters as well as the effects of nuclear weapons, new technical reports were developed and disseminated. New buildings providing protection against such hazards as vandalism, noise or pollution, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, as well as fallout radiation, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) were illustrated and described in various technical publications to show architects and their consulting engineers how protection against these hazards can be accomplished at little cost.” (DCPA, Foresight, Annual Report FY73, 1974, 16)

Ardent Sentry 2006: US Northern Command Exercise based on Category III hurricane in the eastern United States. (DHS, Statement by Peter Verga, July 19, 2007, p. 13
Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge 07 (AS-NE 07): “…a Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) sponsored homeland defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) exercise that…[took] place 30 April – 17 May 2007. The Homeland Security Council has designated ARDENT SENTRY-NORTHERN EDGE (and associated exercises VIGILANT GUARD, ALASKA SHIELD, INDIANA SENTRY, BLUE FLAG, POSITIVE RESPONSE, and the 2007 National Hurricane Preparedness Exercise) as a National Level Exercise for 2007. This exercise includes Canada Command as a full partner, and is the largest (number of personnel, length of exercise, number of venues, and cost) and most complex exercise undertaken in the exercise series.
Purpose: To provide local, state, federal, Department of Defense (DOD), and non-governmental organizations and agencies involved in homeland security emergency management the opportunity to participate in a full range of training scenarios that will better prepare participants to respond to a national crisis. The participating organizations will conduct a multi-layered, civilian-led response to a national crisis.
• Demonstrate multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional unity of effort in support of a civilian-led response to a national crisis through collaboration with local, state, and federal responders.

• State leaders are provided an opportunity to orchestrate and lead response efforts within their state to include the use of state assets, emergency management assistance compacts, and support from federal resources, including active duty military forces.

• The National Guard is provided with an opportunity to exercise with USNORTHCOM, other federal agencies, and representatives from local, state, and non-governmental organizations involved in homeland security.
• USNORTHCOM is provided an opportunity to exercise support of civil authorities in the execution of DOD Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or High-yield Explosive (CBRNE) response plans and Joint Task Force operations.
• North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will exercise against a variety of threats.
• Improve coordination with Canadian partners in cross-border events.
• Explore seams in homeland defense and DSCA processes with DOD, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Strategic Command, and non-DOD government agencies.
• Build on previous exercises and real-world lessons learned.” (NORTHCOM, Fact Sheet, 2007)
Area Command (Unified Area Command): An organization established (1) to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an ICS organization or (2) to oversee the management of large or multiple incidents to which several Incident Management Teams have been assigned. Area Command has the responsibility to set overall strategy and priorities, allocate critical resources according to priorities, ensure that incidents are properly managed, and ensure that objectives are met and strategies followed. Area Command becomes Unified Area Command when incidents are multijurisdictional. Area Command may be established at an emergency operations center facility or at some location other than an incident command post.” (DHS, NIMS, 2004, p. 127)

Area Command. An element of the Incident Command System. “If necessary, an Area Command may be established to oversee the management of multiple incidents being handled by separate Incident Command Posts or to oversee management of a complex incident dispersed over a larger area. The Area Command does not have operational responsibilities and is activated only if necessary, depending on the complexity of the incident and incident management span-of-control considerations. The Area Command or Incident Command Post provides information to, and may request assistance from, the local emergency operations center.” (DHS, National Response Framework (Comment Draft), September 10, 2007, p. 48)

Area Command: “An organization established to: (1) oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an ICS Incident Management Teams (IMT) organization or (2) oversee the management of large or multiple incidents to which several IMTs have been assigned. Area Command has the responsibility to set overall strategy and priorities, allocate critical resources according to priorities, ensure that incidents are properly managed, and ensure that objectives are met and strategies followed. (See also: Unified Area Command). (USCG, IM Handbook, 2006, Glossary 25-2)
Area Command Team (ACT): “An Area Command Team is an organization established to assist an Agency Administrator by: Overseeing the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an incident management team organization (IMT); Overseeing the management of a very large incident that has multiple IMTs assigned to it; Assisting an agency administrator due to the complexity of incidents(s)/issues; and/or Reducing a span of control that has exceeded the local agency administrator(s) ability or desire to manage while still overseeing their unit.” (Wild Fire Lessons Learned Center)

Area Contingency Plan (ACP): “Describes what needs to be protected in the event of an emergency and how to protect it, what resources are available to respond, and the desired outcomes from the spill response.” (GAO, Maritime Security, Dec 2007, p. 56)

Area Joint Information Center (JIC): “An area JIC supports multiple-incident ICS structures that are spread over a wide geographic area. It is typically located near the largest media market and can be established on a local, State, or multi-state basis. Multiple States experiencing… damage may participate in an area JIC.” (FEMA, Basic Guidance for PIOs, Nov 2007, 16)

Areal Precipitation: “The average amount of precipitation which has fallen over a specific area.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 18)
ARES: Amateur Radio Disaster Services (previously Amateur Radio Emergency Services)
ARF: Action Request Form. (Senate HSGA, Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared, p. 631)
Arid Zone: “An area in which the water resources from ground water and rainfall are insufficient to counterbalance the evaporation.” (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, p. 18)
ARIO: Advanced Radiation Incident Operations. (FEMA, Compendium of Federal Terrorism Training Courses, 2003, p. 252)
ARNG: Army National Guard.
A-ROC: Alternate Regional Operations Center. (FEMA, FAAT List, 2002. p. 4)
ARS: Acute radiation syndrome. (See “Ionizing Radiation”)
As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA): “A radiation safety principle for minimizing radiation doses and releases of radioactive materials by employing all reasonable methods.” (DA, WMD-CST Operations, 2007, Glossary-8)
ASCE: American Society of Civil Engineers.
Aseismic: “Nonseismic; used to designate an area free from seismic activity or a tectonic deformation process not accompanied by seismic events. (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, p. 19)
ASFPM: Association of State Floodplain Managers.
Ash Flow: “Pyroclastic flow including a liquid phase and a solid phase composed mainly of ashes.” (UNDHA, Disaster Management Glossary, 1992, p. 19)
ASIS: American Society for Industrial Security.

ASIS International: “ASIS International (ASIS) is…for security professionals, with more than 35,000 members worldwide. Founded in 1955, ASIS is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests, such as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, as well as specific security topics. ASIS also advocates the role and value of the security management profession to business, the media, governmental entities, and the public.” (ASIS, About ASIS, 2007)

ASP: Advanced Spectroscopic Portal. (DHS, Remarks of DHS Secretary Chertoff, July 14, 2007)
ASPR: Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, HHS.
Assembly Area: “The designated area at which employees, visitors, and contractors assemble when evacuated from their building/site.” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop 2006, 46)
Assessment: Survey of a real or potential disaster to estimate the actual or expected damages and to make recommendations for preparedness, mitigation and relief action. (Ref. Center 1998)
Assessment: “Survey of a real or potential disaster to estimate the actual or expected damages and to make recommendations for prevention, preparedness and response.” (UNDHA, DM Glossary, 1992, p. 19)
Assessment: “The evaluation and interpretation of measurements and other information to provide a basis for decision-making.” (USG, USG Interagency Domestic Terrorism CONPLAN, Jan. 2001, Appendix B: Definitions, p. 1); see also DHS, NIMS, 2004, p. 127; FEMA, NIMS (Draft), August 2007, p. 147)
Asset: “An item of property and/or component of a business activity/process owned by an organization. There are three types of assets: physical assets (e.g. buildings and equipment), financial assets (e.g. currency, bank deposits and shares) and non-tangible assets (e.g. goodwill, reputation).” (DigitalCare, State of OR BC Workshop 2006, 46)

Asset: “Property (tangible or intangible) which is owned by an organization. Assets are generally divided into three classes: Physical Assets (buildings, equipment, inventory);

Financial Assets (cash, bank deposits, accounts receivable); Intangible Assets (reputation, brand names, etc.).” (Risky Thinking, A Glossary of Risk Related Terms, 2007)

Asset (Infrastructure): “A distinguishable network entity that provides a service or capability. Assets are people, physical entities, or information located either within or outside the United States and owned or operated by domestic, foreign, public, or private sector organizations.” (DoD, DCIP, 2005, p. 11)
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: “The purpose of these grants is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. The primary goal of the AFG Program’s Fire Prevention and Safety Grant is to reach high-risk target groups in order to mitigate the high incidences of death and injuries. Additionally, the authorization remains that includes funding for Firefighter Safety Research and Development.” (DHS/ODP, FY 2006 EMPG Program Guidance, November 2005, p. 11)

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense: “The Office of ASD(HD) is within the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy [USD(P)]. ASD(HD) is responsible for the overall supervision of all DOD HD related activities. Within CS, ASD(HD) has been delegated the duties and authorities associated with principal staff assistant for MSCA and MACDIS. ASD(HD) ensures internal coordination of DOD policy direction, assists SecDef in providing guidance, through the Joint Staff, to combatant commanders for MSCLEA and conducts coordination with DHS…..The principal duty of ASD(HD) is to provide overall supervision of the HD and CS mission areas within DOD. In that role, ASD(HD) serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the USD(P) and Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on HD and

CS on matters including, but not limited to:

(a) Preparedness to execute the national security missions of DOD pertaining to the defense of US sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and defense critical infrastructure against direct threats and aggression.

(b) Military support to civil authorities.

(c) Defense Critical Infrastructure Program.

(d) DOD domestic antiterrorism and force protections in accordance with DOD Directive 2000.12.

(e) DOD installation preparedness.

(f) DOD domestic counterterrorism activities, less those involving special operations forces.

(g) DOD continuity-related activities, to include COOP, COG, and Enduring Constitutional Government managed under the Defense Continuity Program.

(h) Domestic crisis management including planning and response to man-made and natural disasters including the consequences of incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.

(i) Policy guidance on homeland defense-related education, training, and professional

development programs.” (JCS/DoD, Homeland Security (JP 3-26), 2005, p. II-5)

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