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.

Signal giving warning of danger.

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

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

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.

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

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.

Result of a specific event.

 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.

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

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 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.

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

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.

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.


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.

Geological Hazard
Geological process or phenomenon 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. Geological hazards include internal earth processes and related external earth processes. Hydro-Meteorological factors are important contributors to some of these processes.

A known or perceived danger.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

The action to keep something from happening.

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 .

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The estimated probability that damage will occur to life, property, or the environment if a specified dangerous event occurs.

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,

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


 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”)
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.

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.

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

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

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.).