Glossary

 

Preface

The present glossary wishes to provide for general public, as simple explanation as possible, of the main risk and safety concepts encountered in the website: its goal is not thus to provide unanimously agreed definitions.

The basis of this Glossary is Glossary on Emergency Management, which has been developed in 2001 by European Centre of Technological Safety (TESEC) of Euro-Mediterranean network of Centres EUR-OPA Major Hazard Agreement of Council of Europe in collaboration with other centres of network. The Glossary contained definitions of the basic terms related to emergency and disaster management. These terms definitions are collected from different national and international documents related to that area.

 

Acceptable risk

Degree of risk for human and material loss that is perceived by the community or relevant authorities as tolerable in actions to minimize disaster risk.
 

Alarm

Signal giving warning of danger.
 

Alert

Advisory that hazard is approaching but is less imminent than implied by warning message.
 

Assessment

Survey of a real or potential disaster to estimate the actual or expected damages and to make recommendations for prevention, preparedness and response.
 

Avalanche

Rapid flow of snow down a slope, from either natural triggers or human activity.
 

Awareness Message

An awareness message informs people about the nature of hazards around them, motivates them to get more information, and gives simple safety tips.
 

Casualty

A person injured and needing medical treatment or killed because of man-made or natural disasters.
 

Catastrophe

An event in which a society incurs, or is in danger of incurring, such losses to persons and/or property that the entire society is affected and extraordinary resources and skills are required, some of which must come from other nations.
 

Chemical Accident

Accidental release occurring during the production, transportation or handling of hazardous chemical substances.
 

Civil Defence

The system of measures, usually run by a governmental agency, to protect the civilian population in wartime, to respond to disasters, and to prevent and mitigate the consequences of major emergencies in peacetime.
 

Climatic change

Change observed in the climate on a global, regional or sub-regional scale caused by natural processes and/or human activity.
 

Consequence

Result of a specific event.
 

Cyclone

An atmospheric system characterized by the rapid inward circulation of air masses about a low-pressure center, usually accompanied by stormy, often destructive weather. Cyclones circulate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
 

Dam failure

The event of uncontrolled release or surges of impounded water due to dam damage resulting in downstream flooding.
 

Damage Assessment

The preparation of specific, quantified estimates of physical damage resulting from a disaster, and recommendations concerning the repair, reconstruction or replacement of structures, equipment, and the restoration of economic (including agricultural) activities. Also, the appraisal or determination of the actual effects on human, economic, and natural resources resulting from man-made or natural disasters.
 

Desertification

Environmental crisis which produces conditions or landscapes close to those of a desert.
 

Disaster

A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources. Disasters are often classified according to their cause (natural or manmade).
 

Disaster Control

Control Measures were taken before, during, or after natural or man-made disasters to reduce the probability of damage, minimize its effects, and initiate recovery.
 

Disaster Mitigation

Taking sustained actions to reduce or eliminate risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.
 

Drought

Period of deficiency of moisture in the soil such that there is inadequate water required for plants, animals and human beings.
 

Earthquake

A sudden break within the upper layers of the earth, sometimes breaking the surface, resulting in the vibration of the ground, which where strong enough will cause the collapse of buildings and destruction of life and property.
 

Element at risk

The population, buildings and civil engineering works, economic activities, public services and infrastructure, etc. exposed to hazards.
 

Emergency

An unexpected event which places life and/or property in danger and requires an immediate response through the use of routine community resources and procedures.
 

Extreme Temperatures Wave (Heatwave)

A long lasting period with extremely high surface air temperature.
 

Flood

A "Flood" means water temporary covering land that is usually not covered in water. This includes floods caused by rivers, mountain springs, Mediterranean - type water streams and floods inflicted to coastal areas by the sea, and excluding floods caused by sewer systems. The floods are a potential cause of incidents, exodus of population, inflicting damage to the environment and seriously disrupting the economic development.
 

Hazard

The probability that a dangerous event occurs.
 

Hazard Assessment

The process of estimating, for defined areas, the probabilities of the occurrence of potentially-damaging phenomenon of given magnitudes within a specified period of time. Hazard assessment involves analysis of formal and informal historical records, and skilled interpretation of existing topographical, geological, geomorphological, hydrological, and land-use maps.
 

Hazard Identification

A review of hazards and of locations and conditions associated with hazards in a particular area.
 

Hazard Mapping

The process of establishing geographically where and to what extent particular phenomena are likely to pose a threat to people, property, infrastructure, and economic activities. Hazard mapping represents the result of hazard assessment on a map, showing the frequency/probability of occurrences of various magnitudes or duration.
 

Hurricane

A tropical cyclone, formed in the atmosphere over warm ocean; areas, in which wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour (119 km/h) or more, and blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center or "eye". Circulation is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Hurricane severity is defined by categories from I to V.
 

Hydro - Meteorological Hazard

Process or phenomenon of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.
 

Landslide

In general, a landslide is a movement of a mass of rock, earth or debris down a slope due to gravity. Landslides belong to a group of geological processes referred to as Mass Movement which involves the outward or downward movement of a mass of slope forming material, under the force of gravity.
 

Monitor (or) Monitoring

Use of checks, inspections, tours, visits, sampling and measurements, surveys, reviews or audits to measure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, standards, codes, procedures and/or practices; includes activities of public authorities, industry and independent bodies.
 

Natural Disaster

Disasters where the principal, direct cause(s) are natural phenomena.
 

Natural Hazard

Hazard attributed to natural phenomena, which occur in pose a threat to people, structures or economic assets and may cause disaster. They are caused by geological, seismic, hydrological, or meteorological conditions or processes in the natural environment.
 

Nuclear Hazard

Hazard associated with nuclear energy release ( heat, radiation and radioactive materials)
 

Population at risk

A well-defined population whose lives, property, or/and livelihoods are threatened by given hazards.
 

Prediction

A statement of the expected time, place and magnitude of a future event (for floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, etc.).
 

Preparedness

Building the emergency management profession to effectively prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from any hazard by planning, training, and exercising.
 

Prevention

The action to keep something from happening.
 

Probability

The likelihood that a considered occurrence will take place.
 

Public Awareness

The process of informing the community as to the nature of the hazard and actions needed to save lives and property prior to and in the event of disaster.
 

Radiological Emergency

Radiological Emergency– generally refers to events involving the release of significant levels of radioactivity and exposure of workers or the general public to radiation as a result of Nuclear or Radiological Accident.
 

Reconstruction

Actions taken to re-establish a community after a period of rehabilitation subsequent to a disaster. Actions would include construction of permanent housing, full restoration of all services, and complete resumption of the pre-disaster state.
 

Recovery

Rebuilding communities so individuals, businesses, and governments can function on their own, return to normal life, and protect against future hazards.
 

Rehabilitation

The operations and decisions taken after a disaster with a view to restoring a stricken community to its former living conditions, whilst encouraging and facilitating the necessary adjustments to the changes caused by the disaster.
 

Relief

Assistance and/or intervention during or after disaster to meet the life preservation and basic subsistence needs. It can be of emergency or protracted duration.
 

Residual Risk

The risk still remaining after the implementation of risk management practices.
 

Response

Conducting emergency operations to save lives and property by positioning emergency equipment and supplies; evacuating potential victims; providing food, water, shelter, and medical care to those in need; and restoring critical public services.
 

Restoration

The process of planning for and/or implementing procedures for the repair or relocation of the primary site and its contents, and for the restoration of normal operations at the primary site. Expanded to include consideration and implementation of necessary changes designed to improve preparedness for and mitigate the impact of future emergencies.
 

Risk

The combination of the probability of an event and its negative consequences.
 

Risk Analysis

The determination of the likelihood of an event (probability) and the consequences of its occurrence (impact) for the purpose of comparing possible risks and making risk management decisions.
 

Risk Assessment

The combination of vulnerability analysis and risk analysis. The determination and presentation (usually in quantitative form) of the potential hazards, and the likelihood and the extent of harm that may result from these hazards.
 

Risk Management

The process whereby decisions are made and actions implemented to eliminate or reduce the effects of identified hazards.
 

Risk Reduction

Long-term measures to reduce the scale and /or the duration eventual adverse effects of unavoidable or unpreventable disaster hazards on a society which is at risk, by reducing the vulnerability of its people, structures, services, and economic activities to the impact of known disaster hazards. Typical risk reduction measures include improved building standards, flood plain zoning and land-use planning, crop diversification, and planting windbreaks.
 

Risque géologique

Phénomène ou processus géologique pouvant causer la perte de vies humaines, des blessures ou autres conséquences sur la santé, des dommages matériels, la perte de moyens de subsistance et de services, des perturbations sociales et économiques ou des dommages environnementaux. Les risques géologiques incluent les processus terrestres internes et les processus terrestres externes qui y sont associés. Les facteurs hydrométéorologiques sont des éléments importants pour certains de ces processus.
 

Safety

A situation without unacceptable risks. For purposes of this text, “safety” embraces health, safety and environmental protection, including protection of property.
 

Secondary hazards

Those hazards that occur as a result of another hazard or disaster, i.e., fires or landslides following earthquakes, epidemics following famines, food shortages following drought or floods.
 

Snow Storm

A storm with widespread snowfall accompanied by strong winds.
 

Storm

Wind with a speed between 48 and 55 knots (88 and 101 km/h) (Beaufort scale wind force 10). Technological disaster (or “man-made disaster”) 
 

Technological disaster (or “man-made disaster”)

A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses, which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources and where the principal, direct cause(s) are identifiable human actions, deliberate or otherwise.
 

Technological Hazard (or “man-made hazard”)

A condition which may have disastrous consequences for a society. It derives from technological processes, human interactions with the environment, or relationships within and between communities.
 

Tsunami

A tsunami (Japanese word meaning harbour wave) is a series of ocean waves of extremely long wave length and long period generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that displaces the water. Tsunami consists of 5-6 waves which the first wave is small and called the gentle wave. The second and the third waves are the high waves and most destructive.
 

Volcanic eruption

The discharge (aerial explosive) of fragmentary ejecta, lava and gases from a volcanic vent.
 

Vulnerability

The susceptibility of life, property, or the environment if a specified dangerous event occurs.
 

Wildfires

A fire that burns uncontrollably in a natural setting (e.g., a forest, or grassland).
 

Zonation

In general it is the subdivision of a geographical entity (country, region, etc.) into homogenous sectors with respect to certain criteria (for example, intensity of the hazard, degree of risk, same overall protection against a given hazard, etc.).
 

Acceptable risk

Degree of risk for human and material loss that is perceived by the community or relevant authorities as tolerable in actions to minimize disaster risk.
 

Alarm

Signal giving warning of danger.
 

Alert

Advisory that hazard is approaching but is less imminent than implied by warning message.
 

Assessment

Survey of a real or potential disaster to estimate the actual or expected damages and to make recommendations for prevention, preparedness and response.
 

Avalanche

Rapid flow of snow down a slope, from either natural triggers or human activity.
 

Awareness Message

An awareness message informs people about the nature of hazards around them, motivates them to get more information, and gives simple safety tips.
 

Casualty

A person injured and needing medical treatment or killed because of man-made or natural disasters.
 

Catastrophe

An event in which a society incurs, or is in danger of incurring, such losses to persons and/or property that the entire society is affected and extraordinary resources and skills are required, some of which must come from other nations.
 

Chemical Accident

Accidental release occurring during the production, transportation or handling of hazardous chemical substances.
 

Civil Defence

The system of measures, usually run by a governmental agency, to protect the civilian population in wartime, to respond to disasters, and to prevent and mitigate the consequences of major emergencies in peacetime.
 

Climatic change

Change observed in the climate on a global, regional or sub-regional scale caused by natural processes and/or human activity.
 

Consequence

Result of a specific event.
 

Cyclone

An atmospheric system characterized by the rapid inward circulation of air masses about a low-pressure center, usually accompanied by stormy, often destructive weather. Cyclones circulate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
 

Dam failure

The event of uncontrolled release or surges of impounded water due to dam damage resulting in downstream flooding.
 

Damage Assessment

The preparation of specific, quantified estimates of physical damage resulting from a disaster, and recommendations concerning the repair, reconstruction or replacement of structures, equipment, and the restoration of economic (including agricultural) activities. Also, the appraisal or determination of the actual effects on human, economic, and natural resources resulting from man-made or natural disasters.
 

Desertification

Environmental crisis which produces conditions or landscapes close to those of a desert.
 

Disaster

A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources. Disasters are often classified according to their cause (natural or manmade).
 

Disaster Control

Control Measures were taken before, during, or after natural or man-made disasters to reduce the probability of damage, minimize its effects, and initiate recovery.
 

Disaster Mitigation

Taking sustained actions to reduce or eliminate risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.
 

Drought

Period of deficiency of moisture in the soil such that there is inadequate water required for plants, animals and human beings.
 

Earthquake

A sudden break within the upper layers of the earth, sometimes breaking the surface, resulting in the vibration of the ground, which where strong enough will cause the collapse of buildings and destruction of life and property.
 

Element at risk

The population, buildings and civil engineering works, economic activities, public services and infrastructure, etc. exposed to hazards.
 

Emergency

An unexpected event which places life and/or property in danger and requires an immediate response through the use of routine community resources and procedures.
 

Extreme Temperatures Wave (Heatwave)

A long lasting period with extremely high surface air temperature.
 

Flood

A "Flood" means water temporary covering land that is usually not covered in water. This includes floods caused by rivers, mountain springs, Mediterranean - type water streams and floods inflicted to coastal areas by the sea, and excluding floods caused by sewer systems. The floods are a potential cause of incidents, exodus of population, inflicting damage to the environment and seriously disrupting the economic development.
 

Hazard

The probability that a dangerous event occurs.
 

Hazard Assessment

The process of estimating, for defined areas, the probabilities of the occurrence of potentially-damaging phenomenon of given magnitudes within a specified period of time. Hazard assessment involves analysis of formal and informal historical records, and skilled interpretation of existing topographical, geological, geomorphological, hydrological, and land-use maps.
 

Hazard Identification

A review of hazards and of locations and conditions associated with hazards in a particular area.
 

Hazard Mapping

The process of establishing geographically where and to what extent particular phenomena are likely to pose a threat to people, property, infrastructure, and economic activities. Hazard mapping represents the result of hazard assessment on a map, showing the frequency/probability of occurrences of various magnitudes or duration.
 

Hurricane

A tropical cyclone, formed in the atmosphere over warm ocean; areas, in which wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour (119 km/h) or more, and blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center or "eye". Circulation is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Hurricane severity is defined by categories from I to V.
 

Hydro - Meteorological Hazard

Process or phenomenon of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.
 

Landslide

In general, a landslide is a movement of a mass of rock, earth or debris down a slope due to gravity. Landslides belong to a group of geological processes referred to as Mass Movement which involves the outward or downward movement of a mass of slope forming material, under the force of gravity.
 

Monitor (or) Monitoring

Use of checks, inspections, tours, visits, sampling and measurements, surveys, reviews or audits to measure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, standards, codes, procedures and/or practices; includes activities of public authorities, industry and independent bodies.
 

Natural Disaster

Disasters where the principal, direct cause(s) are natural phenomena.
 

Natural Hazard

Hazard attributed to natural phenomena, which occur in pose a threat to people, structures or economic assets and may cause disaster. They are caused by geological, seismic, hydrological, or meteorological conditions or processes in the natural environment.
 

Nuclear Hazard

Hazard associated with nuclear energy release ( heat, radiation and radioactive materials)
 

Population at risk

A well-defined population whose lives, property, or/and livelihoods are threatened by given hazards.
 

Prediction

A statement of the expected time, place and magnitude of a future event (for floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, etc.).
 

Preparedness

Building the emergency management profession to effectively prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from any hazard by planning, training, and exercising.
 

Prevention

The action to keep something from happening.
 

Probability

The likelihood that a considered occurrence will take place.
 

Public Awareness

The process of informing the community as to the nature of the hazard and actions needed to save lives and property prior to and in the event of disaster.
 

Radiological Emergency

Radiological Emergency– generally refers to events involving the release of significant levels of radioactivity and exposure of workers or the general public to radiation as a result of Nuclear or Radiological Accident.
 

Reconstruction

Actions taken to re-establish a community after a period of rehabilitation subsequent to a disaster. Actions would include construction of permanent housing, full restoration of all services, and complete resumption of the pre-disaster state.
 

Recovery

Rebuilding communities so individuals, businesses, and governments can function on their own, return to normal life, and protect against future hazards.
 

Rehabilitation

The operations and decisions taken after a disaster with a view to restoring a stricken community to its former living conditions, whilst encouraging and facilitating the necessary adjustments to the changes caused by the disaster.
 

Relief

Assistance and/or intervention during or after disaster to meet the life preservation and basic subsistence needs. It can be of emergency or protracted duration.
 

Residual Risk

The risk still remaining after the implementation of risk management practices.
 

Response

Conducting emergency operations to save lives and property by positioning emergency equipment and supplies; evacuating potential victims; providing food, water, shelter, and medical care to those in need; and restoring critical public services.
 

Restoration

The process of planning for and/or implementing procedures for the repair or relocation of the primary site and its contents, and for the restoration of normal operations at the primary site. Expanded to include consideration and implementation of necessary changes designed to improve preparedness for and mitigate the impact of future emergencies.
 

Risk

The combination of the probability of an event and its negative consequences.
 

Risk Analysis

The determination of the likelihood of an event (probability) and the consequences of its occurrence (impact) for the purpose of comparing possible risks and making risk management decisions.
 

Risk Assessment

The combination of vulnerability analysis and risk analysis. The determination and presentation (usually in quantitative form) of the potential hazards, and the likelihood and the extent of harm that may result from these hazards.
 

Risk Management

The process whereby decisions are made and actions implemented to eliminate or reduce the effects of identified hazards.
 

Risk Reduction

Long-term measures to reduce the scale and /or the duration eventual adverse effects of unavoidable or unpreventable disaster hazards on a society which is at risk, by reducing the vulnerability of its people, structures, services, and economic activities to the impact of known disaster hazards. Typical risk reduction measures include improved building standards, flood plain zoning and land-use planning, crop diversification, and planting windbreaks.
 

Risque géologique

Phénomène ou processus géologique pouvant causer la perte de vies humaines, des blessures ou autres conséquences sur la santé, des dommages matériels, la perte de moyens de subsistance et de services, des perturbations sociales et économiques ou des dommages environnementaux. Les risques géologiques incluent les processus terrestres internes et les processus terrestres externes qui y sont associés. Les facteurs hydrométéorologiques sont des éléments importants pour certains de ces processus.
 

Safety

A situation without unacceptable risks. For purposes of this text, “safety” embraces health, safety and environmental protection, including protection of property.
 

Secondary hazards

Those hazards that occur as a result of another hazard or disaster, i.e., fires or landslides following earthquakes, epidemics following famines, food shortages following drought or floods.
 

Snow Storm

A storm with widespread snowfall accompanied by strong winds.
 

Storm

Wind with a speed between 48 and 55 knots (88 and 101 km/h) (Beaufort scale wind force 10). Technological disaster (or “man-made disaster”) 
 

Technological disaster (or “man-made disaster”)

A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses, which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources and where the principal, direct cause(s) are identifiable human actions, deliberate or otherwise.
 

Technological Hazard (or “man-made hazard”)

A condition which may have disastrous consequences for a society. It derives from technological processes, human interactions with the environment, or relationships within and between communities.
 

Tsunami

A tsunami (Japanese word meaning harbour wave) is a series of ocean waves of extremely long wave length and long period generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that displaces the water. Tsunami consists of 5-6 waves which the first wave is small and called the gentle wave. The second and the third waves are the high waves and most destructive.
 

Volcanic eruption

The discharge (aerial explosive) of fragmentary ejecta, lava and gases from a volcanic vent.
 

Vulnerability

The susceptibility of life, property, or the environment if a specified dangerous event occurs.
 

Wildfires

A fire that burns uncontrollably in a natural setting (e.g., a forest, or grassland).
 

Zonation

In general it is the subdivision of a geographical entity (country, region, etc.) into homogenous sectors with respect to certain criteria (for example, intensity of the hazard, degree of risk, same overall protection against a given hazard, etc.).