Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

active shooter
an individual (or individuals) who is killing or attempting to kill people with a firearm within an area
biological contamination
occurs when infectious agents come into contact with a body surface, inanimate objects, or food or water supplies
biological decontamination
mechanical, chemical, and physical methods used to reduce the number of microorganisms to a safe level following biological decontamination
biological terrorism
the intentional release of biological agents into the atmosphere or environment to threaten a civilian population
any occurrence that causes destruction or human injury or loss that overwhelms the community’s available resources
disaster management cycle
phases before and during an event designed to promote optimal health outcomes of the people; the four phases include mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery
disaster simulation
key individuals who would respond to a specific emergency simulate the disaster and respond as if the situation were real
environmental disaster
the devastation of an area’s ecological system that destroys wildlife and poses a significant threat to humans
flash flood
caused by heavy or excessive rain falling over a short time span, often less than 6 hours
human-made disaster
directly caused by actions of people that inflict devastation and destruction of human life
mass casualty incidents (MCIs)
human-made or natural disasters that overwhelm the resources of local management agencies and the health care system
mass violence
refers to incidents of intentional criminal acts targeted at defenseless citizens with the intent to harm or kill large numbers of victims
medical countermeasures (MCM)
biologic products, drugs, and devices used to diagnose, prevent, protect from, or treat conditions associated with biological agents
an action to prevent or reduce the cause, impact, or consequences of a disaster
Natural Hazards Triggering Technological Accidents; human-made disaster resulting from technological accidents that are triggered by natural events
natural disaster
disasters that arise from forces of nature, such as weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, heat waves, and droughts), geological events (mudslides, floods, landslides, and avalanches), underground events (tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions), or epidemiological events (communicable disease outbreaks or swarms)
river flood
caused when excessive rainfall or snowmelt forces a river to exceed capacity
social disasters
human-made disasters that occur due to warfare, genocide, civil unrest, and terrorism
storm surge
abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide
Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
supplies, medicines, and devices for lifesaving care that can be used in the short-term when the immediate supply of critical medical assets is unavailable or insufficient to meet the community’s needs; part of the federal medical response infrastructure
tabletop exercise
sessions where key individuals who would respond to a disaster discuss their role and response in specific emergency situations
technological disaster
human-made disaster resulting from technological accidents that are triggered by natural events
triage tag
standardized method used to sort victims quickly, indicate the level of treatment needed using tag colors that are universally recognized and correspond to a predetermined set of physical assessment findings

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Apr 26, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.