Glossary

Chain of Command: A series of command, control, executive, or management positions in hierarchical order of authority.

Command Staff:  In an incident management organization, the Command Staff consists of the special staff positions of Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required, who report directly to the Incident Commander.

Demobilization: The orderly, safe, and efficient return of an incident resource (staff, supplies, equipment) to its original location and status.

Department Operations Center: A pre-determined location at which selected staff from a department can convene to launch an organized response to an emergency.

Deployment: The action of bringing resources into effective action.

Disaster:  As defined by MN Statute 12.03 subdivision 2, “A situation that creates an actual or imminent serious threat to the health and safety of persons, or a situation that has resulted or is likely to result in catastrophic loss to property or the environment, and for which traditional sources of relief and assistance within the affected area are unable to repair or prevent the injury or loss.”

Emergency (state definition): As defined by MN Statute 12.03 subdivision 3, “An unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action to prevent a disaster from developing or occurring.”

Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC):  A congressionally ratified national disaster relief compact that offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states and U.S. territories.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support domestic incident management 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.

Incident: An unplanned situation that can occur at any time with little or no warning and threatens the public’s health, such as a natural disaster, chemical spill or influenza pandemic.

Incident Command System (ICS): A standardized approach to the command, control, and coordination of on-scene incident management, providing a common hierarchy within which personnel from multiple organizations can be effective. ICS is the combination of procedures, personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of on-scene resources during incidents. It is used for all kinds of incidents and is applicable to small, as well as large and complex, incidents, including planned events.

Just in time training (JITT): Training that occurs immediately preceding an emergency response shift. JITT takes approximately 20 minutes and provides the following: an overview of the incident, review of the Incident Command System, a description of each role's duties and responsibilities, and the deployment site map and flow.

Mass Dispensing Site: Previously used term for what is now referred to as “Point of Dispensing”. (See Point of Dispensing)

Major Disaster: As defined by the Stafford Act, any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought) or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this act to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby.

Medical Countermeasures (MCM): Medicines (i.e. antibiotics, antivirals, antitoxins, etc.) that may be given to these exposed people to prevent them from becoming ill.

Medical Reserve Corps Program: coordinates the skills of practicing and retired physicians, nurses and other health professionals as well as other citizens interested in being of service to their community during a large scale public health emergency.

N-95 Respirator: is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. 

National Incident Management System (NIMS): A system that provides a consistent, nationwide approach for Federal, State, local, and tribal governments; the private sector; and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.

Off-site Care Facility (or Alternate Care Site): is a site where basic or austere “medical needs” sheltering and select traditional inpatient services are not usually provided but which is deliberately repurposed for provision of such services during certain disasters. Off-site Care Facilities are set up to reduce the burden on hospitals, based on clinical situations and ethical standards.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. This equipment may include, but is not limited to: gloves, masks, eye protection, and other personal protective items.

Point of Dispensing (POD): is a location that provides free medications, vaccinations, and medical supplies to a large community during a public health emergency, such as a pandemic influenza or bioterrorism.

Preparedness: The range of deliberate, critical tasks and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the operational capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents. Preparedness is a continuous process involving efforts at all levels of government and between government and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to identify threats, determine vulnerabilities, and identify required resources.

Prophylaxis: A measure taken for the prevention of a disease or condition.

Psychological First Aid: is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the immediate aftermath of disasters.

Public Information Officer (PIO): A member of the command staff responsible for interfacing with the public and media or with other agencies with incident related information requirements.

Response: Activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident. Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency operations plans and of incident mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and other unfavorable outcomes.

Shiftboard: is the online scheduling and notification system for the University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). 

Span of Control: The number of individuals a supervisor is responsible for, usually expressed as the ratio of supervisors to individuals. (Under NIMS, an appropriate span of control is between1:3 and 1:7.)

Staff Staging Area: A location for available resources in which personnel, supplies, and equipment await operational assignment.

Strategic National Stockpile: Is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. 

Strike Team: A set number of resources of the same kind and type that have an established minimum number of personnel, common communications, and a leader.

Terrorism: Any activity that involves an act that is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure and is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state or other subdivision of the United States; and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.