This glossary is for all Campus Public Emergency Communications courses.

Links to other useful glossaries are listed below.

Administrators Personnel who are in charge of or control of information, people or equipment.
After Action Report (AAR) The AAR documents the performance of exercise related tasks and makes recommendations for improvements. The Improvement Plan outlines the actions that the exercising jurisdiction(s) plans to take to address recommendations contained in the AAR.
After Action Review A review of performance of exercise related tasks and makes recommendations for improvements.
Agency A division of government with a specific function offering a particular kind of assistance. In the Incident Command System, agencies are defined either as jurisdictional (having statutory responsibility for incident management) or as assisting or cooperating (providing resources or other assistance). Governmental organizations are most often in charge of an incident, though in certain circumstances private sector organizations may be included. Additionally, nongovernmental organizations may be included to provide support.
Agency Administrator/executive The official responsible for administering policy for an agency or jurisdiction. An Agency Administrator/Executive (or other public official with jurisdictional responsibility for the incident) usually makes the decision to establish an Area Command.
Alert Advisory that hazard is approaching but is less imminent than implied by warning message. See also “warning”. (U.N. 1992, 3)
All Hazards Describing an incident, whether natural or manmade, that warrants action to protect life, property, environment, and public health or safety, and to minimize disruptions of government, social, or economic activities.
Area Command An agency administrator/executive or other public official with jurisdictional responsibility for the incident usually makes the decision to establish an Area Command. An Area Command is activated only if necessary, depending on the complexity of the incident and incident management span-of-control considerations.
Assessment After an event, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of previous plans and training and the need for any changes.
Autocratic Leadership A style of leadership that is top-down only, involves little or no delegration, results in prompt decision-making and may stifle individual initiative.
Back to Top
Blog A type of website, maintained by an individual or company with regular commentary, description of events, and/or other material such as photographs, images and video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Web log.
Bridging A method of responding to questions by using the question to transition to a key message that needs to be conveyed.
Brochures (Fliers) Printed material featuring information and/or graphics
Building Infrastructure Physical structures and fixed assets including buildings, other permanent installations and appurtenances that allow for general and specialized operations or functions to take place. Some types of construction (e.g., reinforced concrete walls) may not permit certain types of cellular or radio communications to readily occur.
Back to Top
Campus Emergency Communications Emergency communications involving people on campus, including administrators, staff, faculty, students, visitors and on-scene partners from other agencies or organizations.
Campus Interface with the Community The nexus between a college or university campus and a surrounding community. Emergency communications can be affected by the physical, social and communications interface between a campus and a community. In some cases, campus emergency communication plans can be integrated with community plans.
Campus Leaders and Staff On-campus administrators and others (excepting students) with assigned functions, some of whom may be tasked with emergency decision making, emergency communications, or first response.
Campus Public Administrators, staff, faculty, students, and visitors – these all may provide useful information and intelligence about threats and emergency conditions, but, more importantly, each needs to receive rapid, clear and helpful notifications in an emergency.
Campus Research Facilities Facilities on campus largely dedicated to the conduct of research. Risks associated with some research may require development of a much more sophisticated emergency communications approach than that needed for dealing with more commonplace risks. Consider, for example, research involving microbes associated with biological terrorism.
Chain of Command The orderly line of authority within the ranks of the incident management organization.
Chief The Incident Command System title for individuals responsible for management of functional Sections: Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence/Investigations (if established as a separate Section).
Command The act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.
Command and Management Command and management describes the system by which effective and efficient incident management and coordination is provided. This is achieved through provision of flexible, standardized incident management structures.
Command Staff In an incident management organization, the Command Staff consists of the Incident Command and the special staff positions of Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required, who report directly to the Incident Commander. They may have an assistant or assistants, as needed.
Common Operating Picture An overview of an incident by all relevant parties that provides incident information enabling the Incident Commander/Unified Command and any supporting agencies and organizations to make effective, consistent, and timely decisions.
Communications Exchange of information, thoughts, graphics, or feelings between individuals or groups. The process of transmission of information through verbal, written, or symbolic means.
Communications and Information Management This phase denotes effective communications, information management, and information and intelligence sharing, all critical aspects of domestic incident management. Establishing and maintaining a common operating picture and ensuring accessibility and interoperability are the principal goals of communications and information management.
Communications Devices Devices that permit communications between individuals or groups, such as landline phones, cellular phones, smart phones, satellite phones, computers, 700-800 MHz radios, and amateur radios.
Communications/Dispatch Center Agency or interagency dispatch centers, 911 call centers, emergency control or command dispatch centers, or any naming convention given to the facility and staff that handles emergency calls from the public and communication with emergency management/response personnel. The center can serve as a primary coordination and support element of the Multiagency Coordination (MAC) System(s) for an incident until other elements of the MAC System are formally established.
Continuous Improvement Learning from past emergencies and improving on response time and better decisions.
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.
Course A Principles of Effective Campus Public Emergency Communications.
Crisis A situation of emergency or disaster that has reached a critical stage.
Critical Personnel Personnel with a critical role in response such as incident commander, command staff, general staff, or other key emergency management team members.
Culture “Culture refers to the characteristic attitudes and practices within an organization or society: “it defines the tacit rules that influence actions in a wide variety of situations.” Because it is “rooted in a set of values, beliefs, rituals, symbols, and assumptions,” it drives many unexamined actions. And because it strongly influences behavior, culture “can affect performance and capability,” and it is thus a strategic concern of those who manage human resources….To transform the military he [DOD Sec. Donald Rumsfeld] “encourag[ed] a culture of creativity and intelligent risk taking” and asked for “a more entrepreneurial approach to developing military capabilities.” ” (Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, Transforming, 2008, p. 323)
Back to Top
Data Interoperability Data is formatted so that it can be shared and used across agencies.
DEAS Digital Emergency Alert
Declaration The formal action by the President to make a State eligible for major disaster or emergency assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended.
Democratic Leadership A style of leadership that is participatory, involves robust communication upward and downward with a high level of delegration and has the potential to slow down decision-making.
DHS Department of Homeland Security.
Digital Emergency Alert System (DEAS) A digitally based program for national alerting under development by FEMA. It will be text-, voice- and video-capable, using mobile phones, TVs, radios and pagers.
Disaster Adverse incident often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly
Disaster Resilient Universities (DRU) Colleges and Universities that are prepared to be resilient in the face of disaster. An organization to facilitate preparation for this exists. It is called the Disaster Resilient University (DRU) network. The DRU network operates its own listserve. The URL for access to the listserve is The mission of DRU is to promote communication between campus emergency managers, emergency responders and other interested parties who are responsible for campus preparedness for emergencies and disasters, thus enabling them to better mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
Dispatch The ordered movement of a resource or resources to an assigned operational mission, or an administrative move from one location to another.
Drills and Exercises The testing, evaluation and review of policies, systems and procedures of campus emergency communications plans.
Back to Top
EH&S Environmental Health & Safety
Emergency Any incident, whether natural or manmade, that requires responsive action to protect life or property. Generally, from a local perspective, an emergency is such an incident that local resources can handle, whereas a disaster is such an incident that requires outside aid. From the Federal perspective, and under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, an emergency means any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.
Emergency Communications Communications (e.g., using voice, data, maps or video) directly relevant to mitigating, preparing for, responding to or recovering from emergencies or disasters.
Emergency Communicator A person who has the responsibility to initiate communications directly relevant to mitigating, preparing for, responding to or recovering from emergencies or disasters.
Emergency Decision Making Decision making related to an emergency or disaster.
Emergency Information Information about an emergency or a disaster or about planning or preparing for one.
Emergency Manager A person who has the day-to-day responsibility for emergency management programs and activities. The role is one of coordinating all aspects of a jurisdiction’s mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities. (The local emergency management position is referred to with different titles across the country, such as civil defense coordinator or director, civil preparedness coordinator or director, disaster services director, and emergency services director.)
Emergency Notification The process by which information is conveyed to members of the on- and off-campus public to allow them to make appropriate, timely decisions, thereby helping to save lives, health and property
Emergency Notification System (ENS) An ENS is a communication system designed to send out messages containing critical information about an emergency to members of the campus public in relatively short time.
Emergency Operations Center The physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support incident management (on-scene operations) activities normally takes place. An EOC may be a temporary facility or may be located in a more central or permanently established facility, perhaps at a higher level of organization within a jurisdiction. EOCs may be organized by major functional disciplines (e.g., fire, law enforcement, medical services), by jurisdiction (e.g., Federal, State, regional, tribal, city, county), or by some combination thereof.
Emergency Public Information Information that is disseminated to the public primarily in anticipation of an emergency or during an emergency. In addition to providing situational information to the public, it also frequently provides directive actions required to be taken by the general public.
ENS Emergency Notification System
EOC Emergency Operations Center
Ethical Commitment Possessing a strong desire to “do the right thing”
Ethical Competence Having the ability to make ethical decisions
Ethical Consciousness Having an awareness of the ethical implication of a decision, communication or behavior.
Evacuation The organized, phased, and supervised withdrawal, dispersal, or removal of civilians from dangerous or potentially dangerous areas, and their reception and care in safe areas.
Event Facilities Infrastructure associated with particular type of events, such as sporting events on a college or university campus. Particular event facilities may require specialized planning for and implementation of emergency communications. This may depend on the nature and size of the event facility. Establishing security at a 100,000+ person campus stadium, for example, will likely require much more intensive and coordinated communications than those needed for security at a small campus stadium.
External Campus Emergency Communications Campus emergency communications involving the public, either on- or off-campus. These are differentiated from internal campus emergency communications, which occur between individuals or groups tasked with on-campus emergency management or response.
External Public Any interested off-campus individuals
Back to Top
Faculty A group consisting of academic employees at a school, college or university, which may include instructors, researchers and professors of different grades.
Fact Sheets Documents that can be given to the media when more detailed information is needed beyond a one-page news release.
Fast Moving Emergency An emergency incident which happens quickly and requires quick decisions to be made.
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency.
First Responders Initially responding law enforcement officer(s) and/or other public safety official(s) or service provider(s) arriving at the scene prior to the arrival of the investigator(s) in charge. In some instances, other individuals present on the scene or arriving soon thereafter may act as first responders (e.g., by providing control of bleeding, or applying CPR).
Functional Exercise An extercise that tests one or more functions (e.g., communications) and “examines and/or validates the coordination, command, and control” (DHS, 2009) associated with these functions during an organized, interactive simulation of “an emergency in the most realistic manner possible, short of moving real people and equipment to an actual site” (FEMA, 2007).
Back to Top
General Personnel At a college or university, general personnel consisting of emergency management (crisis/incident response) team members, nurses, health officials, school resource officers, school security officials, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, technology specialists, bus drivers, administrators, faculty, coaches, athletic staff, facilities staff, housing staff, food preparation staff, resource staff, paraprofessionals, and support personnel.
General Staff A group of incident management personnel organized according to function and reporting to the Incident Commander. The General Staff normally consists of the Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief. An Intelligence/Investigations Chief may be established, if required, to meet incident management needs.
Back to Top
Hazards A hazard is a substance, condition, situation, or event that is source of potential damage, harm or adverse impact to life, health or property. Different campuses are vulnerable to different hazards. Vulnerability to these hazards depends on many factors, e.g., size and training of police and/or security staff, socioeconomic status of the community, geographical layout of a campus, types of research performed on the campus, etc. Emergency communications can be affected by such factors.
Hosted Off-Campus Digital information and/or systems which are stored and operated by an external service provider; are less suseptible to outages caused by on-campus emergencies.
Hosted On-Campus Digital information and/or systems which are stored and operated by the college or university.
Higher Learning Education generally pursuant to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree or professional degree program.
Hydrogen Cyanide HCN. This substance is a colorless or light blue liquid at temperatures below 78ºF; above that, it is a colorless gas that is very volatile, flammable and poisonous.
Back to Top
ICS Incident Command System
Implementing the Emergency Communications Plan Being able to start emergency communications in line with planned communication strategies by involving all participants and agencies as described in the emergency communications plan.
Incident An occurrence or event, natural or manmade that requires a response to protect life or property. Incidents are defined differently by different agencies and organizations. At the Federal level, an incident may be a long, prolonged and complex series of events that affect national or international stability and peace. At a local level, an incident might be a small fire, or an arrest of a criminal. Within NIMS/ICS literature, incidents can include emergencies, major disasters, terrorist attacks, terrorist threats, and civil unrest. Examples of larger scale incidents might be wildland and urban fires, floods, hazardous materials spills, nuclear accidents, aircraft accidents, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, tsunamis, war-related disasters, public health and medical emergencies, and other occurrences requiring an emergency response.
Incident Action Plan (IAP An oral or written plan containing general objectives reflecting the overall strategy for managing an incident. It may include the identification of operational resources and assignments. It may also include attachments that provide direction and important information for management of the incident during one or more operational periods.
Incident Command Responsible for overall management of the incident and consists of the Incident Commander, either single or unified command, and any assigned supporting staff.
Incident Command Post (ICP) The field location where the primary functions are performed. The ICP may be co-located with the incident base or other incident facilities.
Incident Command System (ICS) A standardized, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept. A standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide for the adoption of an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. It is used for all kinds of emergencies and is applicable to small as well as large and complex incidents. ICS is used by various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, to organize field-level incident management operations.
Incident Commander (IC) The individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.
Information Confirmed, meaningful, up-to-date and useful data or facts, organized for a specific purpose.
Information Management The collection, organization, and control over the structure, processing, and delivery of information from one or more sources and distribution to one or more audiences who have a stake in that information.
Infrastructure Existing infrastructure may dictate elements of emergency communications; e.g., some types of construction (e.g., thick reinforced concrete walls) may not permit certain types of cellular or radio communications to readily occur.
Internal Campus Emergency Communications Campus emergency communications between only those responsible for emergency management or response.
Internal Emergency Management Organization Leaders, co-workers, and all coordinated agencies (the PIO can facilitate getting each group’s input, coordinate with them about what to say to the public, and let them know what the public is saying)
Interoperable Communications Capabilities for similar exchanges between members of different organizations (e.g., police and fire), usually using specified or specialized emergency communications systems.
Back to Top
Joint Information Center (JIC) A place where PIOs from different agencies who are involved in a joint information system (JIS) assemble to coordinate with each other. A facility established to coordinate all incident-related public information activities. It is the central point of contact for all news media. Public information officials from all participating agencies should co-locate at the JIC.
Joint Information System (JIS) Integrates incident information and public affairs into a cohesive organization designed to provide consistent, coordinated, accurate, accessible, timely, and complete information during crisis or incident operations. The mission of the JIS is to provide a structure and system for developing and delivering coordinated interagency messages; developing, recommending, and executing public information plans and strategies on behalf of the Incident Commander (IC); advising the IC concerning public affairs issues that could affect a response effort; and controlling rumors and inaccurate information that could undermine public confidence in the emergency response effort.
Back to Top
Key Messages The most important concepts that a PIO or other spokesperson wants the on- and off-campus public to understand about an incident or situation.
Key Personnel Any individuals that would be involved in the response and incident command structure during an incident or event.
Back to Top
Laissez-faire Leadership A style of leadership that involves group decision-making, horizontal communications, maximum delegation, low leadership direction and may result in little or no decision-making.
Language And Culture Languages, backgrounds and cultures affect how emergency communications are understood and received. A brilliant foreign student may not understand jargon in an intercom message saying, “Active shooter in the quad. Shelter in place immediately!”
Leadership An influence process in which individuals facilitate the movement of a group toward a common or shared goal.
Leadership Personnel Personnel with leadership roles who are obligated to command and manage incidents on campus in the absence of, or in conjunction with, traditional incident response personnel.
Leadership Traits Qualities found in good leaders, such as assertiveness, confidence, coolness under stress, courage, compassion, creativity, decisiveness, dependability, endurance, enthusiasm, flexibility, initiative, integrity, intelligence, judgment, justice, self-discipline, sense of humor, tact and will.
Leadership Style Authoritarian, participative, delegative, laissez-faire or other leadership styles affect how rapidly emergency communications decisions may take place and how effective they may be.
Level Of Funding Available Some colleges and universities have much funding for staff and emergency communications systems, whereas others have little.
Local Government A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (regardless of whether the council of governments is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law), regional or interstate government entity, or agency or instrumentality of a local government; an Indian tribe or authorized tribal entity, or in Alaska a Native village or Alaska Regional Native Corporation; a rural community, unincorporated town or village, or other public entity. See Section 2 (10), Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107?296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2002).
Back to Top
Management The process of coordinating and integrating work activities so that they are completed efficiently and effectively
Management By Objectives A management approach that involves a five-step process for achieving the incident goal. The Management by Objectives approach includes the following: establishing overarching incident objectives; developing strategies based on overarching incident objectives; developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols; establishing specific, measurable tactics or tasks for various incident-management functional activities and directing efforts to attain them, in support of defined strategies; and documenting results to measure performance and facilitate corrective action.
Media Advisories A communication method used to invite the meda to an event, a news briefing or a press conference.
Meningitis Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that can result in permanent brain damage and death.
Message Map An analysis of an audience’s likely concerns and questions, to prepare appropriate key messages and supporting points.
Microblogs Form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, E-mail, digital audio or the web.
Mitigation Activities providing a critical foundation in the effort to reduce the loss of life and property from natural and/or manmade disasters by avoiding or lessening the impact of a disaster and providing value to the public by creating safer communities. Mitigation seeks to fix the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. These activities or actions, in most cases, will have a long-term sustained effect.
Mobility of Populations Campuses have very mobile populations with a high rate of turnover.
Moderate-Progress Emergency An emergency incident which happens over a few hours or days and gives decision makers some advance warnings and decisions can be made using a democratic process.
Multi-agency Coordination Systems (MACS) A Multi-Agency Coordination System is a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications integrated into a common system with responsibility for coordinating and supporting domestic incident management activities (NIMS, 33).
Multijurisdictional Incident An incident requiring action from multiple agencies that each have jurisdiction to manage certain aspects of an incident. In the Incident Command System, these incidents will be managed under Unified Command.
Multimodality (Multimodal systems) Communication systems using more than one notification mode
Mutual Aid And Assistance Agreement Written or oral agreement between and among agencies/organizations and/or jurisdictions that provides a mechanism to quickly obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services. The primary objective is to facilitate rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support prior to, during, and/or after an incident.
Back to Top
National Incident Management System (NIMS) A system mandated by HSPD-5 that provides a consistent nationwide approach for state, local, and tribal governments; the private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recovers from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. To provide for interoperability and compatibility among state, local, and tribal capabilities, the NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles, and terminology. HSPD-5 identifies these as the ICS; multiagency coordination systems; training; identification and management of resources (including systems for classifying types of resources); qualification and certification; and the collection, tracking, and reporting of incident information and incident resources.
National Response Framework (NFR) The guiding principles that enable all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe.
New Media or New Social Media The various forms through which information is transmitted to the public collectively.
News Alerts Messages in various forms which communicate the latest news
News Briefing An effective means of communicating with the news media
News Media Agencies that gather news: newspapers, television, radio and internet news
Newsletter Printed or electronic document that is issued regularly to share information
NFR National Response Framework
NIMS National Incident Command System
Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) An entity with an association that is based on interests of its members, individuals, or institutions. It is not created by a government, but it may work cooperatively with government. Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit. Examples of NGOs include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross.
Notification A modern notification system is a combination of software and hardware that provides a means of delivering a message to a set of recipients
Back to Top
O&M Operations & Management
Off-campus Leaders And Staff Emergency managers, emergency communicators, and first responders of coordinating agencies; and city, county, and state leaders.
Off-campus Public Parents of students, the community, local news media, the state, and the nation – although not often physically present on campus, members of the off-campus public may have a vital interest in campus emergencies, and they may at times participate in some aspects of emergency communications.
Officer The Incident Command System title for a person responsible for one of the Command Staff positions of Safety, Liaison, and Public Information.
On-campus Public Students, faculty, staff, administrators and visitors to campus
Ongoing Management And Maintenance Includes developing NIMS programs and processes as well as keeping the NIMS document current.
On-scene Partners (not in FEMA glossary) on-scene coordinator or commander
Operable Communications Effective, reliable means of exchanging emergency information with others within the same organization, at any time, and at any location needed.
Operational Exercise A lengthy, full-scale, “on location” exercise involving key personnel from all or nearly all disciplines
Organization Any association or group of persons with like objectives. Examples include, but are not limited to, governmental departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
Back to Top
Phases The stages of emergency management (i.e., mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response and recovery
Photo and video sharing sites Websites where photographs and videos can be shared, e.g., Flickr, YouTube, etc.
Physical Interface The ways on- and off-campus responders and the public may use to communicate or can restrict communications; such as distance can restrict, while phones can connect communicators.
PIO A member of the Command Staff responsible for interfacing with the public and media and/or with other agencies with incident-related information requirements.
PIS Public information system
Plain Language Communication that can be understood by the intended audience and meets the purpose of the communicator. For the purposes of NIMS, plain language is designed to eliminate or limit the use of codes and acronyms, as appropriate, during incident response involving more than a single agency.
Planning Planning for campus emergency communications involves (1) incorporation of the assessment results of campus hazards, threats and vulnerabilities, (2) inclusion of input from relevant on- and off-campus stakeholders, (3) development of a communications framework consistent with NIMS/ICS, (4) provision for effective communications in all four phases of emergency management: mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
Planning Meeting A meeting held as needed before and throughout the duration of an incident to select specific strategies and tactics for incident control operations and for service and support planning. For larger incidents, the Planning Meeting is a major element in the development of the Incident Action Plan.
Podcasts Distribute (multimedia files) over the internet for playback on a mobile device or a personal computer
Preparedness Involves an integrated combination of planning, procedures and protocols, training and exercises, personnel. A continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response. Within the National Incident Management System, preparedness focuses on the following elements: planning; procedures and protocols; training and exercises; personnel qualification and certification; and equipment certification, qualification and certification. Preparedness activities are conducted on an ongoing basis, in advance of any potential incident.
Press Release An announcement distributed to members of the press in order to supplement or replace an oral presentation
Prevention Actions to avoid an incident or to intervene to stop an incident from occurring. Prevention involves actions to protect lives and property. It involves applying intelligence and other information to a range of activities that may include such countermeasures as deterrence operations; heightened inspections; improved surveillance and security operations; investigations to determine the full nature and source of the threat; public health and agricultural surveillance and testing processes; immunizations, isolation, or quarantine; and, as appropriate, specific law enforcement operations aimed at deterring, preempting, interdicting, or disrupting illegal activity and apprehending potential perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
Public Information Processes, procedures, and systems for communicating timely, accurate, accessible information on the incident’s cause, size, and current situation; resources committed; and other matters of general interest to the public, responders, and additional stakeholders (both directly affected and indirectly affected).
Public Information Officer (PIO) A member of the Command Staff responsible for interfacing with the public and media and/or with other agencies with incident-related information requirements.
Public Information Officer (PIO) Responsibilities

PIO responsibilities include providing input about shared public information and media relations to an Incident Commander, and sharing information with the public through ENSs, news media, websites and other media, after receiving approval for release from the Incident Commander

Public Information System (PIS) Information systems available for public use
Radio Communication Communication through the use of handheld or HAM radios.
Real-time Basis At the same actual time during which an incident or event takes place
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) An automated way of transmitting and updating news. As a user, you allow the automated transmission by subscribing to the feed or source.
Recovery The development, coordination, and execution of service- and site-restoration plans; the reconstitution of government operations and services; individual, private-sector, nongovernmental, and public-assistance programs to provide housing and to promote restoration; long-term care and treatment of affected persons; additional measures for social, political, environmental, and economic restoration; evaluation of the incident to identify lessons learned; post incident reporting; and development of initiatives to mitigate the effects of future incidents.
Recovery Plan A plan developed to restore the affected area or community
Redundant Communication Systems Having multiple systems or methods for notifying the public about an emergency, such as PA systems, email, phone, etc.
Reliable ENS An Emergency Notification System that can be trusted and reliable upon to notify all on- and off-campus community members in case of an incident.
Resource Management Ensures the flow of resources needs to support critical incident objectives remains fluid and adaptable to the requirements of the incident. A system for identifying available resources at all jurisdictional levels to enable timely, efficient, and unimpeded access to resources needed to prepare for, respond to, or recover from an incident. Resource management under the National Incident Management System includes mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements; the use of special Federal, State, tribal, and local teams; and resource mobilization protocols.
Resources Personnel and major items of equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment to incident operations and for which status is maintained. Resources are described by kind and type and may be used in operational support or supervisory capacities at an incident or at an emergency operations center.
Response Immediate actions to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery.
Risk Hazard: a source of danger; a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune
RSS Really Simple Syndication
Back to Top
Short Message Service (SMS) Short, usually text-based messages sent by or to a wireless subscriber. They are not delivered to the recipient instantly and have some degree of transmission time delay. SMS messages are usually limited to total character lengths of 140 to 160 characters.
Slowly Developing Emergency An emergency which may happen sometime in the future; it allows for decisions to be made with a democratic process in advance.
SMS Short Message Service
Social Networking A service that focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.
Span Of Control The number of resources for which a supervisor is responsible, usually expressed as the ratio of supervisors to individuals. (Under the National Incident Management System, an appropriate span of control is between 1:3 and 1:7, with optimal being 1:5, or between 1:8 and 1:10 for many large-scale law enforcement operations.)
Staff The body of teachers and administrators at a school
Stakeholders All individuals on or off campus from all relevant disciplines and organizations who may have a legitimate and vital interest in emergency communications on campus. These
State When capitalized, refers to any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any possession of the United States. See Section 2 (14), Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107?296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2002).
Students Anyone who attends a school
Supervisor The Incident Command System title for an individual responsible for a Division or Group.
Back to Top
Tabletop Exercise A meeting of multiple participants who discuss simulated emergency and potential responses to it. Participants do not actually undertake physical actions in a tabletop exercise; they talk.
Talking Points During an interview, any key messages and answers to anticipated questions that need to be conveyed; should be short, to the point and quotable by the media.
Terrorism Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, terrorism is defined as activity that involves an act dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources; is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the United States in which it occurs; and is intended to intimidate or coerce the civilian population, or influence or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. See Section 2 (15), Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107?296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2002).
Text-to-speech (TTS) Converting text into voice output using speech synthesis techniques. Although initially used by the blind to listen to written material, it is now used extensively to convey financial data, e-mail messages and other information via telephone for everyone. Text-to-speech is also used on handheld devices such as portable GPS units to announce street names when giving directions.
Training The acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.
Transfer Of Command The process of moving the responsibility for incident command from one Incident Commander to another.
TTS Text-to-Speech
Back to Top
Unified Command (UC) An Incident Command System application used when more than one agency has incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions. Agencies work together through the designated members of the UC, often the senior persons from agencies and/or disciplines participating in the UC, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan.
Unified Command System A management system that is employed when more than one responding agency has incident responsibility. It enables multiple agencies to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively.
Unity Of Command An Incident Command System principle stating that each individual involved in incident operations will be assigned to only one supervisor.
Back to Top
Volunteer For the purposes of NIMS, any individual accepted to perform services by the lead agency (which has authority to accept volunteer services) when the individual performs services without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services performed. See 16 U.S.C. 742f(c) and 29 CFR 553.101.
Vulnerable Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally
Back to Top
Webcasts To send selected Web-based information (text, graphics, audio, video, etc.) to Internet users based on individual requirements. See push technology.
Web Media Any website or service that features news or communcations; e.g., a campus emergency web page, Twitter, Facebook or blogs

Other Glossaries

National Mutual Aid And Resource Management Initiative Glossary Of Terms And Definitions
NIMS Resource Center Glossary
FEMA Acronyms Abbreviations And Terms
FEMA Glossary Of Related Terms
FEMA Glossary Of Terms – Office Of Equal Rights