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Click on this link for additional FEMA Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Terms (FAAT Book).

AAR: See After-Action Report.

AAR/IP: See After-Action Report/Improvement Plan.

Academic Recovery: A component of the Continuity of Operations (COOP) annex identifying strategies to continue teaching after an incident.

Action Planning: Steps, or activities, that must be taken to improve and sustain identified strategies.

After-Action Report (AAR): A document intended to capture observations of an exercise and make recommendations for post-exercise improvements.  The final AAR and Improvement Plan (IP) are printed and distributed jointly as a single AAR/IP following an exercise.  See After-Action Report/Improvement Plan.

After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP): The main product of the Evaluation and Improvement Planning process.  The After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) has two components: an After-Action Report (AAR), which captures observations of an exercise and makes recommendations for post-exercise improvements; and an Improvement Plan (IP), which identifies specific corrective actions, assigns them to responsible parties, and establishes targets for their completion.

All-Hazards: Natural, technological, or human-caused incidents that warrant action to protect life, property, environment, and public health or safety, and to minimize disruptions of school activities.

American Red Cross (ARC): The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Analyzing Hazards: A process to determine what hazards or threats merit special attention, what actions must be planned for, and what resources are likely to be needed.

Annexes: See Functional Annexes, Hazard-Specific Annexes.

Appendixes: Supporting documents such as a list of acronyms, copies of statutes, and maps that provide additional guidance and references for planning. 

ARC: See American Red Cross.

Authorities and References: A component of the basic plan that provides the legal basis for emergency operations and activities.  When the school emergency operations plan (EOP) is approved, the procedures and policies within the document become legally binding.

Automated Notification System: An automated system that allows school administrators to promptly call or page every staff member and/or parent in the event of an incident. 

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Basic Plan: An overview of the school’s preparedness and response strategies.  It describes expected hazards, outlines agency roles and responsibilities, and explains how the jurisdiction keeps the plan current.

Building-Block Approach: A method focused on exposing participants to a cycle of training and exercises that escalates in complexity, with each exercise designed to build upon the last, in terms of scale and subject matter.  For example, a building-block series of exercises may include a seminar, which leads to a tabletop exercise (TTX), which leads to a full-scale exercise (FSE).

Bullying: Repeated acts over time by a person or group attempting to harm someone who is weaker.  Direct attacks include hitting, name calling, teasing, or taunting. Indirect attacks include spreading rumors or trying to make others reject someone.  Related words: Cyberbullying and School Violence.

Business Recovery: A component of the Continuity of Operations (COOP) annex that describes the systems in place to continue business and administrative operations after an incident. 

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Capabilities-Based Planning: Determining capabilities suitable for a wide range of threats and hazards while working within a framework that necessitates prioritization and choice.  Capabilities-based planning addresses uncertainty by analyzing a wide range of scenarios to identify required capabilities.

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chain of Command: The orderly line of authority within the ranks of the incident management organization. 

Checklist: Written (or computerized) enumeration of actions to be taken by an individual or organization meant to aid memory rather than provide detailed instruction.

CERT: See Community Emergency Response Team.

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).

Citizen Corps: A community-level program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, that brings government and private-sector groups together and coordinates the emergency preparedness and response activities of community members.  Through its network of community, State, and tribal councils, Citizen Corps increases community preparedness and response capabilities through public education, outreach, training, and volunteer service.

Civil Disturbance: A civil unrest activity such as a demonstration, riot, or strike that disrupts a community and requires intervention to maintain public safety.

Command: The act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.

Command Staff: The staff who report directly to the Incident Commander, including the Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required.  They may have an assistant or assistants, as needed.

Common Procedures: Standardized, specific actions for school staff and students to take in response to a variety of hazards, threats, or incidents.  Examples include evacuation, shelter-in-place, and parent-student reunification.

Common Terminology: Standardized words and phrases used to ensure consistency while allowing diverse incident management and support organizations to work together across a wide variety of incident management functions and hazard scenarios.

Communication: A section of the basic plan that refers to the internal and external strategies and tools to communicate with stakeholders in the event of an emergency or incident.

Community: A political entity that has the authority to adopt and enforce laws and ordinances for the area under its jurisdiction. In most cases, the community is an incorporated town, city, township, village, or unincorporated area of a county; however, each State defines its own political subdivisions and forms of government.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): A community-level program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that trains citizens to understand their responsibility in preparing for disaster.  The program increases its members’ ability to safely help themselves, their family, and their neighbors.  Trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. 

Community Hazards: Natural, technological, or human-caused hazards in the community that affect the school both directly, such as damage to the school building, and indirectly, such as making a road to the school impassible. 

Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: A guide designed to assist jurisdictions with developing emergency operations plans. It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of planning and decisionmaking to help emergency planners examine a hazard and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS): A component of the basic plan that clarifies the school’s overall approach to an emergency (i.e., what should happen, when, and at whose direction) and identifies specialized response teams and/or unique resources needed to respond to an incident. 

CONOPS: See Concept of Operations.

COOP: See Continuity of Operations.

Continuity of Operations (COOP): A functional annex providing procedures to follow in the wake of an incident where the normal operations of the school are severely disrupted. 

Coordinate: To advance an analysis and exchange of information systematically among principals who have or may have a need to know certain information to carry out specific incident management responsibilities.

CPG: See Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101.

Crisis Response Team: A team trained to assist in the healing process of students and staff following a traumatic event or incident. 

Critical Infrastructure: Assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacitation or destruction of such assets, systems, or networks would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.

Cyberbullying: An aggressive behavior directed at another person using various communication technologies such as e-mails, instant messaging, texting, or sending images via cell phones, blogs, Web pages, and/or chat rooms.  Aggressors often torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, and/or embarrass the victim repeatedly.  Cyberbulling is also referred to as online social cruelty and/or electronic bullying. 

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Deputy: A fully qualified individual who, in the absence of a superior, can be delegated the authority to manage a functional operation or to perform a specific task. In some cases a deputy can act as relief for a superior, and therefore must be fully qualified in the position. Deputies generally can be assigned to the Incident Commander, General Staff, and Branch Directors.

DHS: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Discussion-Based Exercises: These types of exercises typically highlight existing plans, policies, mutual aid agreements, and procedures, and can be used as tools to familiarize agencies and personnel with current or expected capabilities.  Discussion-based exercises include seminars, workshops, tabletops, and games.

Direction, Control, and Coordination: A component of the basic plan that outlines the coordination efforts between schools and local fire, law enforcement, and emergency managers.  This section includes information on how the school emergency operations plan (EOP) fits into the school district and community EOPs.

Disaster: An occurrence of a natural catastrophe, technological accident, or human-caused event that has resulted in severe property damage, deaths, and/or multiple injuries.

Drill: A type of operations-based exercise that is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to test a single specific operation or function in a single agency. Drills are commonly used to provide training on new equipment, develop or test new policies or procedures, or practice and maintain current skills.

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Emergency: Any incident, whether natural, technological, or human-caused, that requires responsive action to protect life or property. 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 Management/Response Personnel: Includes Federal, State, territorial, tribal, substate regional, and local governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private sector organizations; critical infrastructure owners and operators, and all other organizations and individuals who assume an emergency management role. Also known as emergency or first responder.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Services, including personnel, facilities, and equipment required to ensure proper medical care for the sick and injured from the time of injury to the time of final disposition (which includes medical disposition within a hospital, temporary medical facility, or special care facility; release from the site; or being declared dead). EMS specifically includes those services immediately required to ensure proper medical care and specialized treatment for patients in a hospital and coordination of related hospital services.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): 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 Operations Plan (EOP): An ongoing plan for responding to a wide variety of potential hazards. An EOP describes how people and property will be protected; details who is responsible for carrying out specific actions; identifies the personnel, equipment, facilities, supplies, and other resources available; and outlines how all actions will be coordinated.

Emergency Support Functions (ESFs): ESFs provide the structure for coordinating Federal interagency support for a Federal response to an incident. They are mechanisms for grouping functions most frequently used to provide Federal support to States and Federal-to-Federal support, both for declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act and for non-Stafford Act incidents.

EMHE: Emergency Management for Higher Education

EMI: Emergency Management Institute

EMS: See Emergency Medical Services.

EOC: See Emergency Operations Center.

EOP: See Emergency Operations Plan.

EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ESF: See Emergency Support Functions.

Evacuation: The organized, phased, and supervised withdrawal, dispersal, or removal of students, personnel, and visitors from dangerous or potentially dangerous areas.

Exercise: An instrument to train for, assess, practice, and improve performance in prevention, protection, response, and recoverycapabilities in a risk-free environment.  Exercises can be used for: testing and validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, and inter­agency agreements; clarifying and training personnel in roles and responsibilities; improving interagency coordination and communications; identifying gaps in resources; improving individual performance; and identifying opportunities for improvement.  Note: Exercises are also an excellent way to demonstrate school resolve to prepare for disastrous events.

Exercise Planning Team: The team responsible for all aspects of an exercise, including exercise planning, conduct, and evaluation.  The planning team determines exercise capabilities, tasks,and objectives; tailors the scenario to school needs; and develops documents used in exercise simulation, control, and evaluation. The exercise planning team should be comprised of representatives from each major participating jurisdiction and agency, but should be kept to a manageable size. 

Exercise Setup: A pre-staging and dispersal of exercise materials. Exercise setup includes registration materials, documentation, signage, and other equipment, as appropriate.

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Facebook: An online social networking site. 

FCO: Federal Coordinating Officer

FE: See Functional Exercise.

Federal: Of or pertaining to the Federal Government of the United States of America.

FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FIA: Federal Insurance Administration

Finance/Administration Section: The Incident Command System Section responsible for all administrative and financial considerations surrounding an incident.

Finance/Administration Section Chief: A member of the General Staff who monitors costs related to the incident and provides accounting, procurement, time recording, and cost analyses.

First Responder: See Emergency Management/Response Personnel.

Full-Scale Exercise (FSE): A multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional operations-based exercise involving actual deployment of resources in a coordinated response as if a real incident had occurred.  A full-scale exercise tests many components of one or more capabilities within emergency response and recovery, and is typically used to assess plans and procedures under crisis conditions, and assess coordinated response under crisis conditions.  Characteristics of an FSE include mobilized units, personnel, and equipment; a stressful, realistic environment; and scripted exercise scenarios.

Functional Annexes: Individual chapters in an emergency operations plan that focus on procedures such as Special Needs or Continuity of Operations.  These annexes address all-hazard critical operational functions and describe the actions, roles, and responsibilities of schools and participating organizations.  In some plans, functional annexes are referred to as Emergency Support Functions (ESFs).

Functional Exercise (FE): A single- or multi-agency operations-based exercise designed to evaluate capabilities and multiple functions using a simulated response.  Characteristics of a functional exercise include simulated deployment of resources and personnel, rapid problem solving, and a highly stressful environment.

FSE: See Full-Scale Exercise.

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Game: A type of discussion-based exercise that simulates operations that often involve two or more teams, usually in a competitive environment, using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation.

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.

Goal: General statement that indicates the intended solution to an identified problem.

Group: An organizational subdivision established to divide the incident management structure into functional areas of operation.

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Hazard: Something that is potentially dangerous or harmful, often the root cause of an unwanted outcome.

Hazard Mitigation: Any action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. The term is sometimes used in a stricter sense to mean cost-effective measures to reduce the potential for damage to a facility or facilities from a disaster or incident.

Hazard-Specific Annexes: Individual chapters in an emergency operations plan that describe strategies for managing missions for a specific hazard.  They explain the procedures that are unique to that annex for a hazard type and may be short or long depending on the details needed to explain the actions, roles, and responsibilities. The information in these annexes is not repeated elsewhere in the plan.

Hazardous Material (HAZMAT): Any substance or material that, when involved in an accident and released in sufficient quantities, poses a risk to people’s health, safety, and/or property. These substances and materials include explosives, radioactive materials, flammable liquids or solids, combustible liquids or solids, poisons, oxidizers, toxins, and corrosive materials.

HAZMAT: See Hazardous Material.

HAZUS-MH: Hazards U.S. Multi-Hazard

Healthy SEAT: See Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool.

Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (Healthy SEAT): An software tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist school districts in evaluating and managing key environmental, safety, and health issues in school facilities. 

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP): Acapabilities- and performance-based exercise program that provides standardized policy, doctrine, and terminology for the design,development, conduct, and evaluationof homeland security exercises.

Hot Wash: A facilitated discussion held immediately following an exercise among exercise players from each functional area that is designed to capture feedback about any issues, concerns, or proposed improvements players may have about the exercise.  The hot wash is an opportunity for players to voice their opinions on the exercise and their own performance.  This facilitated meeting allows players to participate in a self-assessment of the exercise play and provides a general assessment of how the jurisdiction performed in the exercise.  At this time, evaluators can also seek clarification on certain actions and what prompted players to take them.  Evaluators should take notes during the hot wash and include these observations in their analysis.  The hot wash should last no more than 30 minutes.

HSEEP: See Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program

Human-Caused Hazards: Hazards that rise from deliberate, intentional human actions to threaten or harm the well-being of others.  Examples include school violence, terrorist acts, or sabotage.

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IAP: See Incident Action Plan.

IC: See Incident Commander.

ICS: See Incident Command System.

Improvement Plan (IP): For each task, the Improvement Plan (IP) lists the corrective actions that will be taken, the responsible party or agency, and the expected completion date.  The IP is included at the end of the After-Action Report.  See After-Action Report/Improvement Plan.

IMT: See Incident Management Team.

Incident: An occurrence, natural or human-caused, that requires a response to protect life or property. Incidents can, for example, include major disasters, emergencies, terrorist attacks, terrorist threats, civil unrest, 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): A document outlining the control objectives, operational period objectives, and response strategy defined by incident command during response planning. 

Incident Command: The Incident Command System organizational element responsible for overall management of the incident and consisting of the Incident Commander (either single or unified command structure) and any assigned supporting staff.

Incident Commander (IC): The individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and release of resources.  The Incident Commander has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.

Incident Command Post (ICP): The field location where the primary functions are performed.  The Incident Command Post may be co-located with the Incident Base or other incident facilities.

Incident Command System (ICS): A standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.  The Incident Command System 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. ICS 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 Management: The broad spectrum of activities and organizations providing effective and efficient operations, coordination, and support applied at all levels of government, utilizing both governmental and nongovernmental resources to plan for, respond to, and recover from an incident, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.

Incident Management Continuum: A model representing the continuous succession and overlap of incident management functions. 

Incident Management Functions: Prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities that occur in advance of an incident, during an incident, and/or following an incident.

Incident Management Team (IMT): An Incident Commander and the appropriate Command and General Staff personnel assigned to an incident. The level of training and experience of the IMT members, coupled with the identified formal response requirements and responsibilities of the IMT, are factors in determining “type,” or level, of IMT.

Incident Objectives: Statements of guidance and direction needed to select appropriate strategy(s) and the tactical direction of resources. Incident objectives are based on realistic expectations of what can be accomplished when all allocated resources have been effectively deployed. Incident objectives must be achievable and measurable, yet flexible enough to allow strategic and tactical alternatives.

Integrated Communications: Communications facilitated through the development and use of a common communications plan.

Introduction: A component of the basic plan that provides a rationale for the school emergency operations plan (EOP).

IP: See Improvement Plan.

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JIC: See Joint Information Center.

JIS: See Joint Information System.

Job Aid: A checklist or other visual aid intended to ensure that specific steps of completing a task or assignment are accomplished.

Joint Information Center (JIC): A facility established to coordinate critical emergency information, crisis communications, and public affairs functions.  The Joint Information Center is the central point of contact for all news media. The Public Information Officer may activate the JIC to better manage external communication. 

Joint Information System (JIS): A structure that 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 Joint Information System 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.

Jurisdiction: A range or sphere of authority. Public agencies have jurisdiction at an incident related to their legal responsibilities and authority. Jurisdictional authority at an incident can be political or geographical (e.g., Federal, State, tribal, local boundary lines) or functional (e.g., law enforcement, public health, school).

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Liaison: A form of communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation.

Liaison Officer: A member of the Command Staff responsible for coordinating with representatives from cooperating and assisting agencies or organizations assisting at an incident.

LL: Lessons Learned

Local Government: Public entities responsible for the security and welfare of a designated area as established by law. A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, school district, 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).

Logistics: The process and procedure for providing resources and other services to support incident management.

Logistics Section: The Incident Command System Section responsible for providing facilities, services, and material support for the incident.

Logistics Section Chief: A member of the General Staff who provides resources and needed services to support the achievement of the incident objectives.

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MAC: See Multiagency Coordination Group.

MACS: See Multiagency Coordination System.

Mass Care: Actions taken to protect evacuees and other disaster victims from the effects of the disaster.  Activities include providing temporary shelter, food, medical care, clothing, and other essential life support needs to the people who have been displaced because of a disaster or threatened disaster.

Mitigation: Includes activities to reduce the loss of life and property from natural and/or human-caused 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.  Examples: Structural changes to buildings, elevating utilities, bracing and locking chemical cabinets, properly mounting lighting fixtures, ceiling systems, cutting vegetation to reduce wildland fires, etc.

Modular Classrooms: Classrooms providing additional space for learning that are often lightweight and susceptible to wind and other natural hazards.

Modular Organization: A top-down Incident Command System (ICS) organizational structure based on the size and complexity of the incident, as well as the specifics of the hazard environment created by the incident.

Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Group: A group of administrators or executives, or their appointed representatives, who are typically authorized to commit agency resources and funds.  A Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Group can provide coordinated decisionmaking and resource allocation among cooperating agencies, and may establish the priorities among incidents, harmonize agency policies, and provide strategic guidance and direction to support incident management activities. MAC Groups may also be known as policy groups, multiagency committees, emergency management committees, or as otherwise defined by the Multiagency Coordination System.

Multiagency Coordination System (MACS): A system that provides the architecture to support coordination for incident prioritization, critical resource allocation, communications systems integration, and information coordination. Multiagency Coordination Systems assist agencies and organizations responding to an incident.  The elements of a MACS include facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications. Two of the most commonly used elements are Emergency Operations Centers and MAC Groups.

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 are managed under Unified Command.

Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan: A multi-year plan providing a mechanism for long-term coordination of training and exercise activities toward a school’s preparedness goals.  This plan describes the program’s training and exercise priorities and associated capabilities, and aids in employing the building-block approach for training and exercise activities.

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National: Of a nationwide character, including the Federal, State, tribal, and local aspects of governance and policy.

National Incident Management System (NIMS): A set of principles that provides a systematic, proactive approach guiding government agencies at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life or property and harm to the environment.

National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP): A coordinated approach used to establish national priorities, goals, and requirements to protect U.S. critical infrastructure and key resources.

National Preparedness Guidelines (NPG): A document outlining the top priorities intended to synchronize pre-disaster planning, prevention, and mitigation activities throughout the Nation, and to guide Federal, State, and local spending on equipment, training, planning, and exercises.  The Guidelines provide an overarching vision, tools, and priorities to shape national preparedness.

National Response Framework (NRF): A guide establishing a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response.  It intends to capture specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents ranging from the serious but purely local, to large-scale terrorist attacks or catastrophic natural disasters.

Natural Hazard: Hazardrelated to weather patterns and/or physical characteristics of an area.  Often natural hazards occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations.

Neighborhood Hazard: Natural, technological, or human-caused hazards occurring in neighborhoods immediately surrounding the school.

NGO: See Nongovernmental Organization.

NIMS: See National Incident Management System.

NIPP: See National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

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 nongovernmental organizations include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross. NGOs, including voluntary and faith-based groups, provide relief services to sustain life, reduce physical and emotional distress, and promote the recovery of disaster victims. Often these groups provide specialized services that help individuals with disabilities. NGOs and voluntary organizations play a major role in assisting emergency managers before, during, and after an emergency.

Nonstructural: Any portion of the building not connected to the main structure including file cabinets and furnishings.

NPG: See National Preparedness Guidelines.

NRF: See National Response Framework.

NWS: National Weather Service

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Objective: Specific and identifiable actions carried out during an operation.

Off-Campus Events: Events such as field trips, athletic games, and overnight excursions occurring off the school campus.  

Officer: The Incident Command System title for a person responsible for one of the Command Staff positions of Safety, Liaison, and Public Information.

Operational Priorities: The desired end-state for the operations.

Operations-Based Exercises: Operations-based exercises are characterized by actual response, mobilization of apparatus and resources, and commitment of personnel, usually held over an extended period of time.  Operations-based exercises can be used to validate plans, policies, agreements, and procedures and include drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exercises.  They can clarify roles and responsibilities, identify gaps in resources needed to implement plans and procedures, and improve individual and team performance. 

Operations Section: The Incident Command System (ICS) Section responsible for all tactical incident operations and implementation of the Incident Action Plan.

Operations Section Chief: A member of the General Staff who establishes the tactics to meet the incident objectives and directs all operational resources.

Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities: A component of the basic plan that lists tasks staff will perform in the event of incident by position and organization. 

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Parent-Student Reunification: A common procedure implemented after an incident or emergency.  A reunification area away from the incident is established for parents/guardians to reunite with their children.  Parent-student reunification may be needed if the school is evacuated or closed as a result of a hazardous materials incident, fire, school violence, or other hazard.  Related word: Relocation.

Physical Recovery: A component of the Continuity of Operations (COOP) annex outlining possible relocation areas for classrooms and administrative operations as well as plans to restore transportation and food services; classroom equipment, books, and materials; and school buildings and grounds after an incident.

PIO: See Public Information Officer.

Plan Development: The process of generating and comparing possible solutions for achieving goals and objectives, determining response and recovery capabilities, and identifying resource gaps.

Plan Development and Maintenance: A component of the basic plan that outlines responsibilities for updating and maintaining the school emergency operations plan (EOP).  This section includes a schedule for testing, reviewing, and updating the EOP. 

Planning Section: The Incident Command System Section responsible for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of operational information related to the incident, and for the preparation and documentation of the Incident Action Plan. This Section also maintains information on the current and forecasted situation and on the status of resources assigned to the incident.

Planning Section Chief: A member of the General Staff who supports the incident action planning process by tracking resources, collecting/analyzing information, and maintaining documentation.

Planning Team: A group of individuals with a variety of expertise and perspectives planning for all hazards.

Policy Group: See Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Group definition. 

Preparedness: 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 (NIMS), preparedness focuses on the following elements: planning, procedures and protocols, training and exercises, personnel qualification and certification, and equipment certification.  Examples: Conducting drills, preparing homework packages to allow continuity of learning if school closures are necessary, etc.

Prevention: Actions to avoid an incident or to intervene to stop an incident from occurring. Prevention involves actions to protect lives and property. Examples include: Cyberbullying prevention, pandemic influenza sanitation measures, building access control procedures, security systems and cameras, etc.

Procedure: A series of standard actions or operations that specify what school personnel should do in responding to and recovering from an incident.

Psychological Healing: A functional annex describing how schools will address medical and psychological issues resulting from traumatic incidents. 

Public Information: Processes, procedures, and systems for communicating timely, accurate, and accessible information on an 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 who serves as the conduit for information to internal and external stakeholders, including the media or other organizations seeking information directly from the incident or event.

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Radiological Release: An incident where a release of radiological substance, or the likelihood of such a release, threatens the safety of the school community.

Record of Changes: A document detailing and tracking each update or change to the plan to enhance accountability and transparency.  The document is usually in table format, and contains at a minimum a change number, the date of the change, and the name of the person who made the change.

Record of Distribution: A document used as proof that tasked individuals and organizations have acknowledged their receipt, review, and/or acceptance of the school EOP.  The document is usually in table format and indicates the title and name of the person receiving the plan, the agency to which the receiver belongs, the date of delivery, and the number of copies delivered. 

Recovery: Encompasses both short-term and long-term efforts for the rebuilding and revitalization of affected communities.  Examples: Short-term recovery focuses on crisis counseling and restoration of lifelines such as water and electric supply, and critical facilities.  Long-term recovery includes more permanent rebuilding.

Recovery Plan: A plan developed to restore an affected area or community.

Relocation: A common procedure implemented when the school building or environment surrounding is no longer safe. Students and staff are moved to an alternative facility where parents/guardians can reunite with children and/or teaching can continue.  Related word: Parent-Student Reunification.

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: 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 mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and other unfavorable outcomes. As indicated by the situation, response activities include applying intelligence and other information to lessen the effects or consequences of an incident; increased security operations; continuing investigations into nature and source of the threat; ongoing public health and agricultural surveillance and testing processes; immunizations, isolation, or quarantine; and specific law enforcement operations aimed at preempting, interdicting, or disrupting illegal activity, and apprehending actual perpetrators and bringing them to justice. Examples: Lockdown, shelter-in-place, evacuation of students, search and rescue operations, fire suppression, etc.

Reverse Evacuation: A common procedure implemented when conditions inside the building are safer than outside the building. 

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Safety Officer: A member of the Command Staff responsible for monitoring incident operations and advising the Incident Commander on all matters relating to operational safety, including the health and safety of emergency responder personnel. 

Section: The Incident Command System organizational level having responsibility for a major functional area of incident management (e.g., Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence/Investigations (if established)). The Section is organizationally situated between the Branch and the Incident Command.

Seminar: A discussion-based exercise designed to orient participants to new or updated plans, policies, or procedures through informal discussions.

Sex Offenders: A person convicted of a sex crime including rape, molestation, sexual harassment, or pornography production or distribution.

Sexting: Sexually explicit text and photo messages, often referring to or requesting specific sexual acts and behaviors.

Shelter-in-Place: A common procedure implemented in the event of a chemical or radioactive release.  Students and staff take immediate shelter, sealing up windows and doors, and turning off air ducts. 

SOL: Standard of Learning

Special Needs Population: A population whose members may have additional needs before, during, and after an incident in functional areas, including but not limited to: maintaining independence, communication, transportation, supervision, and medical care. Individuals in need of additional response assistance may include those who have disabilities, who are from diverse cultures, who have limited English proficiency, who are non-English-speaking, or who are transportation disadvantaged.

Specialized Procedures: Standardized actions for specific populations or situations during an incident or emergency.  Examples include special needs population, off-campus events, continuity of operations, mass care, and psychological healing.

SRO: School Resource Officer

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).

Structural: Any component of the building whose primary function is to support the dead load (e.g., building, roof). 

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Tabletop Exercise (TTX): A discussion-based exercise intended to stimulate discussion of various issues regarding a hypothetical situation.  Tabletop exercises can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures or to assess types of systems needed to guide the preventionof, responseto, or recovery from a defined incident.  TTXs are typically aimed at facilitating understanding of concepts, identifying strengths and shortfalls, and/or achieving a change in attitude.  Participantsare encouraged to discuss issues in depth and develop decisions through slow-paced problem-solving rather than the rapid, spontaneous decision-making that occurs under actual or simulated emergency conditions. TTXs can be breakout (i.e., groups split into functional areas) or plenary (i.e., one large group).

Technological Hazard: These hazards originate from technological or industrial accidents, infrastructure failures, or certain human activities.  These hazards cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption, or environmental degradation, and often come with little to no warning.

Telephone Tree: A list of staff, their phone numbers, and their role in the Incident Command System (if applicable).  The first person on the list (usually the principal or Incident Commander) calls his or her pre-assigned staff members to relay what is and is not known and what steps should be taken.  These staff members continue passing along the principal’s message to their pre-assigned contacts until everyone has been contacted.

Terrorism: As defined in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, activity that involves an act that is 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; and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, 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.

Threat: Natural, technological, or human-caused occurrence, individual, entity, or action that has or indicates the potential to harm life, information, operations, the environment, and/or property.

Transfer of Command: The process of moving the responsibility for incident command from one Incident Commander to another.  Transfer of command must include a transfer of command briefing, which may be oral, written, or a combination of both.

TTX: See Tabletop Exercise.

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UC: See Unified Command.

Unified Command (UC): In incidents involving multiple jurisdictions, a single jurisdiction with multiagency involvement, or multiple jurisdictions with multiagency involvement, unified command allows agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional authorities and responsibilities to work together effectively without affecting individual agency authority, responsibility, or accountability.

Unity of Command: Principles clarifying the reporting relationships and eliminating the confusion caused by multiple, conflicting directives.  Incident managers at all levels must be able to control the actions of all personnel under their supervision.

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Warning: The alerting of emergency response personnel and the public to the threat of extraordinary danger and the related effects that specific hazards may cause. A warning issued by the National Weather Service (e.g., severe storm warning, tornado warning, tropical storm warning) for a defined area indicates that the particular type of severe weather is imminent in that area.

Watch: Indication by the National Weather Service that in a defined area, conditions are favorable for the specified type of severe weather such as flash floods, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tropical storms.

Workshop: A type of discussion-basedexercise focused on increased participantinteraction and focusing on achieving or building a product (e.g., plans, policies). A workshop is typically used to test new ideas, processes, or procedures; train groups in coordinated activities; and obtain consensus. Workshops often use breakout sessions to explore parts of an issue with smaller groups.

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