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Alarms: Warning system put in place to notify people that an emergency has occurred or is about to occur. Can be used to mobilize Emergency Response Organization and to warn people of danger so that they can take steps to protect their own safety and that of others.

Advanced Life Support

Audit: Process of evaluating hazards and developing an inventory of resources.


BLS: Basic Life Support
Bomb Threat: An action taken by what is usually an anonymous person stating they have placed an explosive device somewhere on the premises. The persons purpose is usually to disrupt operations and cause fear among the work force. Most Bomb Threats are found to be hoaxes.
Briefings: Means used to pass information to selected groups. Can be used to address members of the Emergency Response Organization, the media, government and the public. Used to facilitate decision making within the Emergency Response Organization.
Business Continuity Planning: The process which ensures the availability of critical resources so that the business could continue its operation(s) despite major disruptions or crises.


CANUTEC: Canadian Transport Emergency Centre.
CCPA: Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association
Chemical Release: The unplanned discharge of chemical in liquid, crystal, vapour, solid or gaseous form.
CISD: Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
Command Post Drill: A two-phase exercise. The first phase is a theory portion where the Emergency Response Plan and Organization are looked at in detail. The second phase consists of a paced drill. In the paced drill one element of the Emergency Response System is mobilized and tested independently of the other elements of the organization. Elements that can be tested with this type of exercise include things such as facility evacuation and head counts.
Communications: Act of passing information between participants in Emergency Operations to facilitate management of resources. Entails the use of technical means such as telephones and radios plus employing policies and procedures designed to ensure effective passage of information.
Crisis: An abnormal and unique event which occurs with some degree of surprise and requires unusual, extensive and demanding response effort.
Critical Incident Stress: Psychological effects experienced by people who are involved in a crisis.


Decision Tree: A tool provided to emergency organization personnel to assist them in determining the appropriate level of response needed for dealing with a specific emergency.
DG: Dangerous Goods
Disaster: See ‘Crisis’.
Disciplined Approach: A structured method of evaluating all the factors contributing to the severity of an emergency, the measures available for dealing with the emergency and developing a plan of attack.



Any situation out of the norm that has resulted or could result in:

  • undue risk to the health and safety of on site personnel or the public;
  • significant damage to Plant equipment;
  • or, damage to the environment.

It is a situation that calls for immediate and special action. It demands a comprehensive response effort by a significant segment of an organization.

Emergency Command Post: The location from which all field emergency response activities are coordinated.
Emergency Management: The process which effectively manages all functions of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as they relate to crisis and disaster.
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): A location, often within a facility, from which assigned personnel provide direct support to field personnel engaged in emergency response, long term planning and high level decision making.
Emergency Operations Centre Manager: The individual responsible for the management of the Emergency Operations Centre.
Emergency Operations: Actions taken to bring an emergency to an end. Descriptions of these actions are usually contained in the Emergency Response Plan. The goal of Emergency Operations is to protect the safety of the community and the facilities work force as well as to minimize any damage caused by an emergency.
Emergency Planning: This process includes any activity that individuals and organizations undertake, prior to a disaster, to enhance their ability to effectively respond to that disaster.
Emergency Preparedness: This process ensures that required resources are available to effectively respond to disasters. The process includes a range of activities from the identification of needed resources to their acquisition and pre-positioning.
Emergency Response Organization/Agency: A structure that assigns specific duties and responsibilities to all personnel involved in Emergency Operations.
Emergency Response

Plan (ERP):
Documented, structured approach to guiding facility personnel through the steps of managing response to emergency situations.
Emergency Response: The organized response of a team of trained responders to an emergency. May include outside resources as well as company personnel.
Emergency: A present or imminent event which threatens the health, public safety and property of our residents and requires the prompt coordination and action or special regulation of persons or property to protect the health, safety and welfare of people, or to limit damage to property.
EMS: Emergency Medical Services
EPC: Emergency Preparedness Canada
EPZ: Emergency Planning Zone. The estimated area that will be impacted by an incident. Emergency response activities are developed with the well-being of those in this area taken into consideration.
ESP: Emergency shutdown procedures.
Evacuation Assembly Areas: Areas on the plant site designated as safe gathering areas for personnel.
Evacuation: Moving people from a hazardous location to safety. If possible, should be carried out prior to an emergency.
Exercise: Examination of potential emergency situations for the purpose of evaluating Emergency Response procedures. Also known as drills, simulations or tests. Exercises can be very simple or very complex, depending on the objectives of the exercise.
External Organization/Agency: A group who would have special knowledge or skills to assist in a specific area during an emergency. Not directly involved in Emergency Response.


Fatalities: Persons who die by other than natural causes.
FEMA: Federal Emergency Measures Agency.
First Responders: Trained group of operations personnel with basic skills in Fire Fighting, First Aid, Search and Rescue and Hazardous Materials Response. The group responsible for handling all hands on activities necessary to bring an emergency under control.


Hazard Analysis: Subjective evaluation of factors that will create risk at an industrial facility. Less structured than a Quantitative Risk Assessment, the Hazard Analysis strives to identify what is likely to happen, how often it may happen and what the impact of the occurrence would be.
Hazard: A condition that exists which represents the potential to create danger to the public and the people who work at the facility. It may also represent potential for causing damage to the environment and to the facility itself.
Hazardous Material

Products and materials that can cause injury or death if they come in contact with a living organism. Usually chemical in nature, they can harm people, animals, or vegetation. Harm is caused by means of direct contact, inhalation or ingestion.
Hazardous Release: A release of a chemical, in either a liquid or vapour state, that may cause harm to people, animals, or the environment.


Incident: Any event involving plant facilities which could, or does, result in an emergency.
Incident Command System (ICS): A system of scene management that applies basic management techniques to the emergency scene. The focus is on safety and systematic handling of the incident.
Incident Command Post: The location where the management of site emergencies will be conducted.
Incident Commander: The Incident Command System designation for the On Scene Commander.
Initial Response: Response performed by operators and personnel to local area alarms


Litigation: Legal action taken by a person or group of persons against operators of the facility. Action may be for personal injury, loss of livelihood or damage to the environment.
Local Authorities: Government agencies that have responsibility over the area in which the facility operates.


Mass Casualties: Injuries to a sufficient number of people so that normal emergency health care facilities are overwhelmed. Special plans must be in place for these occurrences so that pain and injury is minimized.
MCI: Multiple Casualty Incident.
Media Information Centre: Location where media can be dealt with when they arrive on site.
Mitigation: To make an emergency less intense, serious or severe.
Mobilization: Process of making the transition from normal operations to emergency response. All resources needed to cope with the emergency situation are called out in this way.
Municipal Emergency Services: Fire, Police and Health agencies that provide protection to the community on an ongoing, daily basis.
Mutual Aid Agreement: Is a formal agreement between two or more entities (e.g. municipalities, corporations) to be available to assist each other with specific resources and in specific circumstances?


PA Announcement: Public Address Announcement; a system for delivering verbal messages to the company personnel.
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment.
Preparedness: A state of readiness that the company operating an industrial facility maintains. Provides the capability to deal with emergencies when they arise.
Primary Contact: The person chiefly responsible for a particular position in the emergency organization; the first person to be called to fill that position during an emergency. (See also Alternate Contact).
Public and Media Information Centre (PMIC): Location from which all media and public relations are managed for the facility during an emergency operation.
Public Education: A program of informing the public about what measures they can take to protect their own safety in an emergency. Best carried out as a joint activity between the company and government emergency service personnel.
Public Information: Positive process employed by the company to communicate needed information to the public and the media. Also a means by which the company is able to learn about concerns the public may have about an emergency.


RCMP: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Resources: Materials, equipment and supplies used in Emergency Operations. Includes the skills and abilities of the people who will carry out Emergency Operations.
Risk: It is the combined effect of the probability that a particular event will take place and the consequence of that event.


SCAT PAK: A portable air breathing unit that provides the wearer with approximately 5 minutes of air.
Simulation Exercise: An exercise designed to test the complete emergency response organization. An actual incident is staged and the complete organization is mobilized to deal with it. A simulation centre is used to generate the outside world and community resources are invited to participate in the exercise simulation.
Staging Area/Reporting Point: Safe area away from incident site where material and equipment are stored until required by the scene commander.
State of Local Emergency: The local authority of a municipality may, at any time when it is satisfied that an emergency exists or may exist, by resolution or, in the case of the Minister responsible for the Municipal Government Act, the Minister responsible for the Special Areas Act or a park superintendent of a national park, by order, make a declaration of a state of local emergency relating to all or any part of the municipality.


Table Top Exercise: A round table, open forum type of discussion in which an emergency situation is presented to the participants. A series of questions is offered for consideration by the participants. Individual emergency response plans from communities and industrial operators are used in a discussion on how to best deal with the fictional emergency situation.
TDG: Transportation of Dangerous Goods.