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A short glossary of key words and acronyms used in the disaster management. Sources: UNHCR, UNDRR, EPA, FEMA.


After-Action Report (AAR)

A report that evaluates the response to an emergency, identifies strengths and weaknesses, and provides recommendations for improvement.

Autonomous Systems (AS)

The integrated system consisting of sensory and computational infrastructure that automatically analyses sensor data and performs tasks autonomously, with no or minimal human supervision....


Civil Protection

A set of measures and actions governments, organizations, and individuals take to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters or emergencies. Civil protection...

Civil Protection Corps (CPC)

A public organization responsible for managing civil protection activities in a country or region. The CPC is typically made up of trained professionals and volunteers...

Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)

A plan that ensures that essential functions of an organization can continue during and after an emergency.

Crisis Communication

The process of communicating important information during a disaster, including updates on the situation, evacuation orders, and instructions on how to access help.

Critical Infrastructure

The essential systems and services that support the functioning of a society, such as electricity, water, transportation, and communications.



A severe disruption of the functioning of a community or society, which causes widespread human, material, economic, or environmental losses.

Disaster preparedness

The measures taken before a disaster occurs, including developing emergency response plans, stockpiling essential supplies, and conducting training and exercises to ensure that...

Disaster recovery

The process of restoring normal operations and infrastructure after a disaster, including repairing or rebuilding damaged buildings, roads, and other infrastructure, and...

Disaster/Emergency Management

The process of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters, including natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, as well as human-made...


Early Warning

The timely provision of information and alerts about an impending disaster or emergency situation. The purpose of early warning is to enable individuals, communities, and...


A situation or event that requires immediate action to prevent or mitigate harm to people, property, or the environment.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

A national public warning system that broadcasts emergency alerts to the public via radio, television, and other media.

Emergency Management System (EMS)

The coordinated and integrated approach for responding to and managing all aspects of an emergency or disaster, including preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation....

Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

A centralized location where emergency management personnel coordinate and manage response and recovery efforts.

Emergency Response

The immediate actions taken to address the immediate needs of people and the environment and save lives and protect property in the event of a disaster, including search and...


The process of moving people from a dangerous area to a safer location during a disaster, typically through emergency shelters or transportation.


First Responders

The individuals or groups who are the first to arrive at a disaster or emergency scene. They are responsible for providing immediate assistance to those affected by the disaster...



A potential source of harm or danger, such as a fire, earthquake, or terrorist attack.

Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)

The substances that are potentially harmful or dangerous, such as chemicals, radioactive materials, and biological agents.


Incident Action Plan (IAP)

A written document that outlines the objectives, strategies, and tactics for managing the emergency response.

Incident Command System (ICS)

A standardized approach to incident management that provides a structure for command, control, and coordination of emergency response.



The actions taken to reduce or eliminate the likelihood or severity of a disaster, before it occurs, including building codes and regulations, hazard mitigation plans, and...

Mutual Aid

The sharing of resources, personnel, and equipment between different jurisdictions or organizations during an emergency.


National Incident Management System (NIMS)

A comprehensive approach to incident management that provides a common language and framework for emergency response.

Natural disaster

the ‘negative impact following an actual occurrence of natural hazard in the event that it significantly harms a community’ [FEMA, ‘Natural Hazards’ (Federal Emergency Management Agency,...

Natural Disaster Management

The proactive and/or reactive intervention made by public actors, in the course of performing a public function, or by other entities acting on behalf of such actors; and aimed at...

Natural hazards

Environmental phenomena that can affect human environments [FEMA, ‘Natural Hazards’ (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2022)



The ability of a community or system to withstand and recover from a disaster, including the ability to adapt and learn from the experience to improve future disaster...


The likelihood or probability of a hazard causing harm to people, property, or the environment.

Risk Assessment

The process of evaluating the potential hazards posed by a disaster and assessing the vulnerability of people, infrastructure, and other assets to those hazards.



A protective action where people stay indoors or in a safe location during an emergency, usually to avoid exposure to hazardous materials.