VII. Glossary of Terms

The following definitions have been either taken directly from one or more of the above referenced Federal laws, contain an interpretation of an otherwise undefined term, or establish a unified definition for a term that has multiple definitions in those laws.  For the purposes of the Reference Guide, these terms and definitions apply:

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.

Agency.  A division of government with a specific function offering a particular kind of assistance. 

Closed Captioning.  The display of text coinciding with the audio portion of a television broadcast that allows persons with hearing disabilities to have access to these broadcasts.

Disability (individual with).  A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

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 a 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.

Emergency Support Function #6.  A grouping of government and private-sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide the Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services support, resources, and program implementation for state, regional, local, and tribal government and nongovernmental organizational needs.

Federal.  Of or pertaining to the Federal Government of the United States of America.

Local Government.  A county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, school district, special 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.

National.  Of a nationwide character, including the Federal, state, local, and tribal aspects of governance and policy.

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.

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.  Based on the requirements of the situation, response assistance will be provided to an affected state under the National Response Plan (NRP) using a partial activation of selected Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) or the full activation of all ESFs to meet the needs of the situation.

Sign Language Interpreter.  A person who has been trained to use a system of conventional symbols or gestures made with the hands and body to help people who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing, or have speech impairments communicate.

State Government.  Any state of the United States, or any United States Territory or possession.

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.

Tribal Government.  An Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 USC 479a.

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.

Last Modified: Friday, 13-Jul-2007 20:08:29 EDT