PDM Glossary

PDM - Pre-disaster mitigation. Federal Emergency Management Assistance grant program designed to help states, territories, tribal governments and universities prepare for a disaster event.

Accessible - Having the legally required features and/or qualities that ensure entrance, participation and usability of places, programs, services and activities by individuals with a wide variety of disabilities.

Actual Event - A disaster (natural or man-made) that has warranted action to protect life, property, environment, public health or safety.  Natural disasters include earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc.; man-made (either intentional or accidental) incidents can include chemical spills, terrorist attacks, explosives, biological attacks, etc.

All Hazards - Any incident caused by terrorism, natural disasters, or any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) accident.  Such incidents require a multi-jurisdictional and multi-functional response and recovery effort.

Assessment - The evaluation and interpretation of measurements and other information to provide a basis for decision-making.

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

Emergency - As identified by the Stafford Act, an emergency is "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 catastrophe in any part of the United States.

Emergency Public Information - Information that is disseminated primarily in anticipation of, during, or after an emergency that relates to the emergency and provides public safety or other information for the general welfare of the public.

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

Incident - An occurrence or event, natural or human-caused, that requires an emergency response to protect life or property.  Incidents can, for example, include major disasters, emergencies, terrorist attacks, terrorist threats, wildland and urban fires, floods, hazardous materials spills, nuclear accidents, aircraft accidents, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tropical storms, war-related disasters, public health and medical emergencies, and other occurrences requiring an emergency response.

Inventory - An itemized list of current assets such as a catalog of the property or estate, or a list of goods on hand.

Local Government - A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, school 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 organization, or Alaska Native village or organization; and a rural community, unincorporated town or village, or other public entity, for which an application for assistance is made by a state or political subdivision of a state.

Major Disaster - 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 that, in the determination of the President, causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under the Stafford 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.

Mitigation - The activities designed to reduce or eliminate risks to persons or property or to lessen the actual or potential effects or consequences of an incident.  Mitigation measures may be implemented prior to, during, or after an incident.  Mitigation measures are often informed by lessons learned from prior incidents.  Mitigation involves ongoing actions to reduce exposure to, probability of, or potential loss from hazards.  Measures may include zoning and building codes, floodplain buyouts, and analysis of hazard-related data to determine if it is safe to build or locate temporary facilities.  Mitigation can include efforts to educate governments, businesses, and the public on measures they can take to reduce loss and injury.

National Response Plan (NRP) - Establishes a comprehensive all-hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents.  The plan incorporates best practices and procedures from incident management disciplines - homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement, firefighting, public works, public health, responder and recovery worker health and safety, emergency medical services, and the private sector - and integrates them into a unified structure.  It forms the basis of how the federal government coordinates with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector during incidents.

Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) - An entity with an association that is based on interests of its members, individuals, or institutions and that is not created by a government, but may work cooperatively with government.  Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit.  Examples of NGOs include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross.

Paratransit - The family of transportation services which falls between the single occupant automobile and fixed route transit.  Examples of paratransit include taxis, carpools, vanpools, minibuses, jitneys, demand responsive bus services, and specialized bus services for the mobility impaired or transportation disadvantaged.

Preparedness - Those activities, programs, and systems that exist before an emergency and that are used to support and enhance response to an emergency or disaster.

Private Sector - Organizations and entities that are not part of any governmental structure.  Includes for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, formal and informal structures, commerce and industry, private emergency response organizations, and private voluntary organizations.

Reasonable Accommodation/Reasonable Modification - In general, an accommodation is any change to the rules, policies, procedures, environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy greater participation.  A requested accommodation is unreasonable if it poses an undue financial or administrative burden or a fundamental alteration in the program or service.

Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance - All types of entities that receive Federal financial assistance, regardless of whether they are a governmental agency, a private organization, or a religious entity.

Religious Entity - A religious organization, including a place of worship.

Response - Activities to address the immediate and short-term effects of an emergency or disaster.  Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property, and meet basic human needs.

Telecommunications - The transmission, emission, or reception of voice and/or data through any medium by wire, radio, other electrical electromagnetic or optical means.  Telecommunications includes all aspects of transmitting information.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) - A telephone service that uses operators, called communications assistants (CAs), to facilitate telephone calls between people with hearing and speech disabilities and other individuals.  TRS providers - generally telephone companies - are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either a state or a federal fund.  There is no cost to the user.

Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program - The National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) TSP program is the regulatory, administrative, and operational program authorizing and providing for priority treatment (i.e. provisioning and restoration) of NS/EP telecommunications services.  As such, it establishes the framework for NS/EP telecommunications service vendors to provide, restore, or otherwise act on a priority basis to ensure effective NS/EP telecommunications services.

Undue Hardship - An excessive difficulty or expense required to provide a reasonable accommodation considering the resources of the facility asked to provide the accommodation and other relevant factors.

Video Relay Service - Form of Telecommunications Relay Service that enables people who are deaf, are hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment, rather than through typed text.

Voluntary Agency - Any chartered or otherwise duly recognized tax-exempt local, state or national organization or group that has provided or may provide needed services to the states, local governments, or individuals in coping with an emergency or a major disaster.