Emergency Glossary


Here are some terms to be aware of when identifying, planning for and responding to risks in your community. 

NFIP: The National Flood Insurance Program. Most homeowners policies don’t cover flood damage, so this coverage is provided by the federal government. It’s available through your insurance company or agent and pricing is based on what flood zone you live in. 

Hypothermia: An unusually low body temperature that can be brought on by exposure to cold temperatures. Any body temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, fumbling hands, slurred speech and exhaustion or confusion.

Aftershocks: Shaking that occurs after an earthquake. Aftershocks can continue for days or weeks after the original earthquake. 

EAS: The Emergency Alert System is a public warning system that requires broadcasters to disseminate emergency information. 

Watch: A weather watch means that hazardous weather, such as a tornado or winter storm, is possible. 

Warning: A weather warning means that hazardous weather is imminent and could pose a threat to life or property. 

Landslides: According to FEMA, landslides cause 25-50 deaths and more than a billion dollars in damage each year. They can travel 55 to 100 miles per hour and are caused by rain, earthquakes, volcanoes or other changes to the land. 

Active shooter: A person with a gun shooting right now. FEMA says during an active shooter situation, the best thing to do is to run and escape, if you can, hide if you can’t escape, and fight as a last resort. 

NOAA weather radio: A national network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information. Keep a battery-powered NOAA weather radio in your emergency kit to receive important alerts and weather information. 

Fallout: Radioactive, visible dirt and debris raining down from a nuclear explosion. It can make people exposed to it ill. 

Severe thunderstorm: A thunderstorm that produces one-inch hail or larger and winds greater than 58 miles per hour. 

Major hurricane: A hurricane that is classified as a Category 3 or higher. 

Red flag warning: An ongoing or imminent critical fire weather pattern.

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