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Acronym's, Abbreviations, and Glossary
related to emergency radio communications.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


  • AAR - After Action Report (Review)
  • ACARS - Aircraft Communication and Reporting System
  • ACS - (Pennsylvania) Auxiliary Communications Services {PEMA}
  • AEC - Assistant Emergency Coordinator {ARRL}
  • ALS - Advanced Life Support
  • Amb - Ambulance
  • AMBER - America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response {FCC}
  • AMTOR - Amateur Teleprinting Over Radio
  • ANWC - Alternate National Warning Center (see NWC)
  • AO - Area of Operations
  • AOR - Area of Responsibility
  • APCO - Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials
  • APRS - Automatic Position Reporting System
  • ARC - American Red Cross
  • ARCARS - American Red Cross Amateur Radio Service
  • ARCC - Area Repeater Coordination Council
  • ARCT - Amateur Radio Communications Team
  • ARDC - ARES / RACES of Delaware County
  • ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Services
  • ARESMAT - ARES Mutual Assistance Team
  • ARRL - American Radio Relay League
  • ASPR - Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response {DHS}
  • AUXCOMM - Auxiliary Communications
  • AUXFOG - Auxiliary Field Operations Guide

  • BATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • BCARES - Bucks County ARES
  • BLEVE - Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion
  • BLS - Basic Life Support
  • B-NICE - Five categories of terrorist incidents: Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical and Explosives.
  • BT - Bioterrorism

  • C/B-RRT - Chemical/Biological-Rapid Response Team
  • CAP - Civil Air Patrol
  • CASM - Communications Asset Survey and Mapping tool {DHS}
  • CCAR - Chester County ARES/RACES
  • CD - Communicable Disease
  • CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • CDP - Center for Domestic Preparedness
  • CERT - Community Emergency Response Team
  • CFR - Code of Federal Regulations
  • CHEMTREC - CHEMical TRansportation Emergency Center - Hazmat Information Center 1-800-424-9300 (Available 24 hours)
  • CHRIS - Chemical Hazard Response Information System {USCG}
  • CIRG - Critical Incident Response Group {FBI}
  • CNB - Chemical, Nuclear, Biological
  • CO - Commanding Officer
  • COML - Communication Unit Leader (ICS Position - Logistics Section)
  • COMT - Incident Communication Technician
  • CONUS - Continental United States
  • COOP - Continuity Of OPerations
  • CP - Command Post
  • CPR - CardioPulmonary Resuscitation
  • CSG - Counterterrorism Security Group{NRF}
  • CTCSS -- Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System. A sub-audible tone system used on some repeaters. Also called PL.
  • CU - Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures Unit {FBI}

  • DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • DART - Downed Aircraft Rescue Transmitter
  • DART - Disaster Assistance Response Team
  • DCS - Digital Coded Squelch
  • de - Morse code prosign meaning "from"
  • DEC - District Emergency Coordinator {ARRL}
  • DECON - Decontamination
  • DEP - Department of Environmental Protection (PA)
  • DERA - Disaster and Emergency Response Association
  • DF - Direction Finding
  • DFO - Disaster Field Office (Replaced by JFO)
  • DHHS - Department of Health and Human Services
  • DHS - Department of Homeland Security
  • DISA - Defense Information Systems Agency
  • DMAT - Disaster Medical Assistance Team {USPHS}
  • DMORT - Disaster Mortuary Response Team {USPHS}
  • DOC - Department of Commerce
  • DOD - Department of Defense
  • DOE - Department of Energy
  • DOH - Department of Health
  • DOI - Department of the Interior
  • DOJ - Department of Justice
  • DOS - Department of State
  • DOT - Department of Transportation
  • DRC - Disaster Recovery Center
  • DRG - Domestic Readiness Group
  • DSCA - Defense Support of Civil Authorities
  • DTMF - Dual Tone Multi Frequency (phone keypad tones)

  • EAS - Emergency Alert System
  • EC - Emergency Coordinator {ARRL}
  • ECC - Emergency Comunications Center
  • EDT - Eastern Daylight Time
  • EEI - Essential Elements of Information (Mission)
  • EFS - Enhanced Fujita Scale
  • ELT - Emergency Locator Transmitter (downed aircraft locator)
  • EMA - Emergency Management Agency
  • EMAC - Emergency Management Assistance Compact (mutual aid between states)
  • EMCOM / EMCOMM - Emergency Communications
  • EMI - Emergency Management Institute
  • EMO - Emergency Management Office
  • EMS - Emergency Medical Service
  • EMT - Emergency Medical Technician
  • EMWINS - Emergency Management Weather Information System {NOAA} Satellite Data System
  • EOC - Emergency Operations Center
  • EOP - Emergency Operations Plan
  • EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • EPA - Eastern Pennsylvania Section {ARRL}
  • EPIRB - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
  • ER - Emergency Room
  • ERT - Emergency Response Team {FBI}
  • ERT - Environmental Response Team {EPA}
  • ESAR-VHP - Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals {DHS}
  • ESF - Emergency Support Functions {NRP}
  • ESF-2 - Emergency Support Function (Communications) {NRP}
  • ESMR - Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (communication system in which numerous mobile/portable transceivers are linked in a network of repeaters. Operating frequencies are UHF. Usually, the working 900 MHz band.)
  • EST - Eastern Standard Time
  • ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival
  • ETD - Estimated Time of Departure

  • FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
  • FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • FCC - Federal Communications Commission
  • FCO - Federal Coordinating Officer
  • FDA - Food and Drug Administration
  • FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • FLDIGI - Amateur radio multimode digital modem program available for most operating systems.
  • FNARS - FEMA National Radio System
  • FOG - Field Operations Guide
  • FRC - Federal Resource Center
  • FRP - Federal Response Plan
  • FRS - Family Radio Service (unlicensed)

  • GETS - Goverment Emergency Telecommunications Service
  • GMRS - General Mobile Radio Service (licensed)
  • GMT - Greenwich Mean Time (outdated, replaced by UTC)
  • GOES - Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (weather satellite)
  • GPS - Global Positioning System
  • GSA - General Services Administration

  • HAZMAT - Hazardous Materials
  • HERN - Hospital Emergency Radio Network
  • HHS - Health and Human Services
  • HLT - Hurricane Liason Team
  • HMIS - Hazardous Materials Identification System
  • HMRT - Hazardous Materials Response Team
  • HMRU - Hazardous Materials Response Unit {FBI}
  • HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996) {HHS}
  • HIRA - Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • HQ - Headquarters
  • HRT - Hostage Rescue Team {FBI}
  • HSC - Homeland Security Council
  • HSEEP - Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
  • HSIN - Homeland Security Information Network
  • HSOC - Homeland Security Operations Center {NRP}
  • HSPD - Homeland Security Presidential Directive
      HSPD 5 - "Management of Domestic Incidents"
      HSPD 7 - “Critical Infrastructure, Identification, Prioritization, and Protection”
      HSPD 8 - “National Preparedness”
  • HWN - Hurricane Watch Net

  • IAP - Incident Action Plan
  • IC - Incident Commander
  • ICE - In Case of Emergency
  • ICP - Incident Command Post
  • ICS - Incident Command System (see glossary)
  • ICTAP - Interoperable Communications Technical Asistance Program {DHS}
  • IIMG - Interagency Incident Management Group {NRP}
  • IMT - Incident Management Team - Command and General Staff in an ICS organization.
  • INCM - Incident Communications Center Manager
  • IRLP - Internet Radio Linking Project (similar to EchoLink)
  • ITU - International Telecommunications Union

  • JFO - Joint Field Office (Replaced DFO) {NRP}
  • JIC - Joint Information Center
  • JIS - Joint Information System {NIMS}
  • JOC - Joint Operations Center
  • JTF - Joint Task Force
  • JTTF - Joint Terrorism Task Force

  • KT - Knot (nautical miles per hour 1 KT = 1.15 MPH)

  • LFA - Lead Federal Agency
  • LNO - Liaison Officer

  • MAC - Multi-Agency Coordination
  • MACs - Multi-Agency Coordination Systems
  • MARS - Military Affiliate Radio System
  • MATF - Multi-Agency Task Force
  • MERS - Mobile Emergency Response System {FEMA}
  • MOU - Memorandum of Understanding
  • MROs - Mass Rescue Operations
  • MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet
  • MURS - Multi Use Radio Service (unlicensed)

  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NAWAS - National Warning System
  • NBC - Nuclear, Biological, Chemical
  • NBEMS - Narrow Band Emergency Messsaging Software
  • NCP - National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan
  • NCS - National Comunications System
  • NCS - Net Control Station
  • NCTC - National Counterterrorism Center
  • NDMS - National Disaster Medical System
  • NDPO - National Domestic Preparedness Office
  • NECC - National Emergency Coordination Center {FEMA}
  • NECP - National Emergency Communications Plan {DHS}
  • NEFRLS - National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System {FEMA}
  • NEIC - National Earthquake Information Center
  • NEST - Nuclear Emergency Search Team
  • NEXRAD - NEXt generation RADar - A NWS network of Doppler radars being installed nationwide.
  • NFA - National Fire Academy
  • NFPA - National Fire Protection Association
  • NGB - National Guard Bureau
  • NGO - Nongovermental Orginization {NRP}
  • NHC - National Hurricane Center
  • NICC - National Infrastructure Coordinating Center {NRP}
  • NIFC - National Interagency Fire Center
  • NIFOG - National Interoperability Field Operations Guide
  • NIMS - National Incident Management System (see glossary)
  • NIPP - National Infrastructure Protection Plan
  • NIRT - Nuclear Incident Response Team
  • NJTTF - National Joint Terrorism Task Force {NRP}
  • NM - Net Manager {NTS}
  • NMCC - National Military Command Center
  • NMRT - National Medical Response Team {USPHS}
  • NNSA - National Nuclear Security Administration {DOE} Renamed from AEC in 2000
  • NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NOC - National Operations Center
  • NORAD - North American Aerospace Defense Command
  • NPS - National Park Service
  • NPSPAC - National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (Mutual Aid channel management)
  • NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • NRF - National Response Framework
  • NRCC - National Response Coordination Center {NRP}
  • NRP - National Response Plan - Superseded by the National Response Framework (NRF)
  • NRT - National Response Team
  • NSARC - National Searce and Rescue Committee
  • NSC - National Security Council
  • NSF - National Strike Force {USCG}
  • NSP - National Search and Rescue Plan {NSARC}
  • NSSE - National Special Security Event {NRP}
  • NTIA - National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • NTS - National Traffic System {ARRL}
  • NTSB - National Transportation Safety Board
  • NVIS - Near Vertical Incident Skywave (HF antenna for short range comunications)
  • NVOAD - National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters
  • NWC - National Warning Center
  • NWR - NOAA Weather Radio (In the Philadelphia area 162.475 MHz)
  • NWS - National Weather Service

  • OBS - Official Bulletin Station
  • ODP - Office for Domestic Preparedness {OJP}
  • OEC - Office of Emergency Communication {DHS}
  • OEM - Office of Emergency Management (link is for NJ, for PA see PEMA)
  • OEP - Occupant Emergency Plans
  • OES - Office of Emergency Services
  • OJP - Office of Justice Programs {DOJ}
  • OLIVIA - MFSK mode set, very sensitive under poor conditions.
  • OPLAN - Operations Plan
  • OSC - On Scene Coordinator
  • OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration

  • PAO - Public Affairs Officer
  • PA-STARNET - Pennsylvania Statewide Radio Network
  • PDA - Preliminary Damage Assessment
  • PEMA - Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
  • PENNDOT - Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • PFD - Philadelphia Fire Department
  • PIA - Post Incident Analysis
  • PFO - Principal Federal Official
  • PIO - Public Information Officer
  • PL - Motorola Abbreviation for "Private Line". AKA CTCSS
  • POC - Point of Contact
  • POTS Line - Plain Old Telephone Service (single analog phone circuit)
  • PPE - Personal Protective Equipment
  • PSK31 - Narrow banded digital mode

  • QM - Quartermaster (supply)

  • RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
  • RADO - Radio Operator
  • RCC - Rescue Coordination Center
  • RDF - Radio Direction Finding
  • RECC - Regional Emergency Communications Coordination (Working Group)
  • RFI - Radio Frequency Interference
  • RFI - Request for Information
  • REACT - Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams
  • ROC - Regional Operations Center {FEMA} (Replaced by RRCC)
  • RRCC - Regional Responce Coordination Center {NRP}
  • RRT - Regional Response Team or Rapid Response Team

  • SAA - State Administering Agency
  • SAC - Special Agent in Charge
  • SAME - Specific Area Message Encoding (NWS alerts)
  • SAR - Search and Rescue
  • SATERN - Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network
  • SCIP - Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan
  • SCO - State Coordinating Officer
  • SEC - Section Emergency Coordinator {ARRL}
  • SEOC - State EOC
  • SEPA RTF - Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force (Covers Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, and City of Philadelphia.)
  • SERVPA - State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Pennsylvania (An Internet-based system developed and maintained by the Commonwealth allowing for the advance and real-time registration of volunteers for deployment during emergencies or disasters.)
  • SFLEO - Senior Federal Law Enforcement Official
  • SHARES - SHAred RESources HF Radio Program
  • SIOC - Strategic Information and Operations Center {FBI}
  • SITREP - Situation Report
  • SLOSH - Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges for Hurricanes
  • SM - Section Manager {ARRL}
  • SOG - Standard Operating Guidelines
  • SOP - Standard Operating Procedures
  • STM - Section Traffic Manager {NTS}

  • TD - Tropical Depression
  • TDS - Time, Distance and Shielding. Three types of protective measures commonly associated with hazardous materials training.
  • TERT - Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce
  • THSP - Technical Specialist
  • TICP - Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan {DHS}
  • TLA - Three Letter Acronym
  • TNC - Terminal Node Controler
  • TS - Tropical Storm
  • TSC - Terrorist Screening Center
  • TWS - Tsunami Warning System

  • UASI - Urban Area Security Initiative (DHS region)
  • UC - Unified Command
  • USAEC - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • USAF - U.S. Air Force
  • USCG - U.S. Coast Guard
  • USFA - United States Fire Administration
  • USGS - United States Geological Survey
  • USN - U.S. Navy
  • USNG - United States National Grid
  • USPHS - United States Public Health Service
  • USAR - Urban Search and Rescue
  • USSS - United States Secret Service
  • UTC - Coordinated Universal Time (Zulu Time, GMT)

  • VOAD - Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disasters

  • WFO - Weather Forecast Office
  • WMD - Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • WMDOU - Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations Unit {FBI}
  • WPS - Wireless Priority Service
  • WX - Weather
  • WXSAT - Weather Satellite

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    GLOSSARY

    A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

  • Advisory - Highlights special weather conditions that are less serious than a "warning".
  • Agency - A division of government with a specific function.
  • Ambient Temperature - Temperature of the surroundings.

  • Beaufort Wind Scale - An estimate of wind speed based on how objects (leaves, waves, trees) move.
  • Bioterrorism - The intentional use of microorganisms, or toxins, to produce death or disease.
  • Blizzard - Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • Bulletin Station - Station responsible for relaying informational messages to all stations in the net.

  • Cache - A predetermined complement of tools, equipment, and/or supplies stored in a designated location, available for incident use.
  • Catastrophic Incident - Any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions.
  • Caustic Material - A substance capable of destroying or eating away living tissue.
  • Chain of Command - A series of command, control, executive, or management positions in hierarchical order of authority.
  • Clear Text - The use of plain English in radio communication transmissions. No ten-codes, Q-codes, or agency specific codes to be used.
  • Collapse - Accident involving the collapse of building or structure.
  • Combustible - Substance that catches fire and burns easily.
  • Communication Unit - An organizational Unit in the Logistics Section responsible for providing communication services at an incident. A Communication Unit may also be a facility (e.g., a trailer or mobile van) used to provide the major part of an Incident Communications Center.
  • Consequence Management - The response to a disaster, focusing on alleviating damage, loss, hardship or suffering.
  • Convective storm - A type of meteorological hazard generated by the heating of air and the availability of moist and unstable air masses. Convective storms range from localised thunderstorms (with heavy rain and/or hail, lightning, high winds, tornadoes) to meso-scale, multi-day events.
  • Corrosive - Any material which causes visible damage or irreversible alteration of human tissue at the site of contact or causes metals or plastics to corrode at a rapid rate.
  • Crisis Management - Measures to identify, acquire, and plan the use of resources needed to anticipate, prevent, and/or resolve a threat or act.
  • Cyclone - an area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere. Generic term for a rotating storm.

  • Demobilization - The orderly, safe, and efficient return of a resource to its original location and status.
  • Derechos - A widespread and long lived windstorm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.
  • Digipeater - Digital Repeater, usually packet, also APRS
  • Disaster - A catastrophic event that exceeds the ability of the community to cope. ("Community" may be anything from a household to a planet; disasters can occur on different scales.)
  • Doppler Radar - Radar that can measure radial velocity (i.e., toward or away from the radar antenna).
  • Downburst - A strong downdraft with an outrush of damaging wind on or near the ground.

  • EchoLink - Amateur Radio stations linked using VoIP
  • Enhanced Fujita Scale - The EF scale takes into account more variables when assigning a wind speed rating to a tornado.
  • Emergency - An event requiring quick action to avoid serious consequences.
  • Emergency traffic - Messages with life and death urgency or requests for medical help and supplies.
  • Epicentre - Point on the earth’s surface directly above the place of origin (i.e. focus, or hypocenter) of an earthquake.
  • Eye - The usually "calm" center of a hurricane.
  • Event - A planned non-emergency activity. e.g., parades, walk-a-thons.
  • Extra-tropical Storm - A type of low-pressure cyclonic system in the middle and high latitudes (also called mid-latitude cyclone) that primarily gets its energy from the horizontal temperature contrasts (fronts) in the atmosphere. When associated with cold fronts, extratropical cyclones may be particularly damaging (e.g. European winter/windstorm, Nor’easter).

  • First Responder - First trained personel or team to arrive on scene (police, fire, EMS).
  • Flash Flood - Rapid rise in water, usually within 12 hours of a heavy rain or other action.
  • Formal Messages - Written messages that are sent in a standardized format.
  • Fujita Tornado Scale - Relative estimate of tornado wind speed. F0-F5. The Enhanced Fujita Scale is now used.
  • Funnel Cloud - A rotating cone-shaped column of air extending downward from the base of a thunderstorm, but not in contact with the ground. Not a tornado.
  • Fusion Center - Facility that brings together into one central location law enforcement, intelligence, emergency management, public health, and other agencies including NGO's

  • Geomagnetic Storm - A type of extraterrestrial hazard caused by solar wind shockwaves that temporarily disturb the Earth’s magnetosphere. Geomagnetic storms can disrupt power grids, spacecraft operations, and satellite communications.
  • Gust front - A boundary that separates a cold downdraft of a thunderstorm from warm, humid surface air.

  • Hazardous Chemical - Any chemical which is a physical or health hazard.
  • HazMat - Hazardous Materials (substances which are a physical or health hazard)
  • Health and Welfare Traffic - Messages about the well being of individuals in a disaster area.
  • Helibase - A location within the general incident area for parking, fueling, maintenance and loading of helicopters.
  • Helispot - A location where a helicopter can take off and land.
  • Hot Zone -The area immediately around the incident site. Appropriate protective clothing and equipment must be worn by all personnel in the Hot Zone. Awareness Level and Operational Level trained personnel are not permitted in the Hot Zone.
  • Hurricane - A severe tropical cyclone with sustained wind speeds in excess of 74 mph.
  • Hurricane Season - In the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico runs from June 1 to November 30.
  • Hydrological Hazard - A hazard caused by the occurrence, movement, and distribution of surface and subsurface freshwater and saltwater.

  • Ice Jam Flood - The accumulation of floating ice restricting or blocking a river’s flow and drainage. Ice jams tend to develop near river bends and obstructions (e.g. bridges).
  • Incident - An occurrence or event, either human caused or natural phenomena, that requires action by emergency service personnel to prevent or minimize loss of life or damage to property and or natural resources.
  • Incident Command Post - That location at which the primary command functions are executed.
  • Incident Command System - An ICS is based upon a flexible, standard, scalable response organization providing a common framework within which people can work together effectively.
  • Incident Commander - The individual responsible for the management of all incident operations.
  • Incident Communication Center - The location of the Communications Unit and the Message Center.
  • Informal (Tactical) Messages - Brief verbal or informal written messages, intended for direct and immediate delivery.
  • Irritant - A substance that causes a reversible inflammatory response.

  • Jurisdiction - A range or sphere of authority.

  • Landline - Telephone communication (not cellular)
  • Legal Responsible Authority - The official and/or agency having legal responsibility for the emergency response to a SAR or disaster incident.
  • Liaison Station - A station responsible for passing messages between different nets.
  • Liquefaction - The transformation of (partially) water-saturated soil from a solid state to a liquid state caused by an earthquake. Liquefaction reduces the strength and sti?ness of soil causing buildings to topple over.

  • Macroburst - A downburst with a diameter greater than 2.5 miles.
  • Message Center - The Message Center is part of the Incident Communications Center and is collocated or placed adjacent to it. It receives, records, and routes information about resources reporting to the incident, resource status, and administrative and tactical traffic.
  • Microburst - A downburst with a diameter less than 2.5 miles.

  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a system used in the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management among various federal, state, and local agencies.
  • Nautical Mile - 1,852 meters
  • Net - A group of stations who gather on one frequency, with a common purpose. The net provides a structure and organization to allow an orderly flow of messages.
  • Net Control Station (NCS) - The station in charge of the net and directing the flow of messages and general communications.

  • Pass - to send messages from one station to another.
  • Pathogen - Any agent or organism that can cause disease.
  • Phonetic Alphabet - Standard words used on voice modes to make it easier to understand letters of the alphabet.
  • Placard - A sign or symbol designed to be hung on a container or vehicle containing warning information to convey the level of hazard.
  • Priority traffic - Emergency-related messages, but not as important as Emergency traffic.
  • Protocol - A set of established guidelines for actions under various specified conditions.
  • Pulse Storms - Single cell thunderstorms

  • Red Flag Warning - Weather conditions conducive to wildfire occurences.
  • Relay Station - Station responsible for passing messages between two stations on a net that cannot hear each other.
  • Resources - All personnel and major items of equipment available, or potentially available, for assignment to incident tasks on which status is maintained.
  • Richter Scale - An index of the seismic energy released by an earthquake (as contrasted to intensity that describes its effects at a particular place) expressed in terms of the motion that would be measured by a specific type of seismograph located 100 km from the epicentre of an earthquake.

  • Saffir-Simpson Scale - Provides an indication of hurricane strength based on wind speed - Catagories 1-5
  • Safecom - A communications program of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Scud clouds - Are low detached clouds caught in the outflow beneath the thunderstorm.
  • Served Agency - The agency or organization to which you provide communications services. (ie; Red Cross, hospital, etc)
  • Severe Thunderstorm - A thunderstorm which produces tornadoes, hail 0.75 inches or more in diameter, or winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or more.
  • Shelter in Place - Protect people without evacuating by keeping them inside a building with windows and doors closed and external ventilation systems shut off until a hazardous situation has resolved.
  • SKYWARN - Trained, volunteer, severe weather observers, reporting observations to the NWS.
  • Staging Area - That location where incident personnel and equipment gather and are assigned.
  • Stat - Emergency - Do it now.
  • Strike Team - Specified combinations of the same kind and type of resources, with common communication and a leader.
  • Storm Surge - An abnormal rise of the sea along a shore as a result, primarily, of the high winds in a land falling storm.
  • Subsidence - Subsidence refers to the sinking of the ground due to groundwater removal, mining, dissolution of limestone (e.g. karst, sinkholes), extraction of natural gas, and earthquakes.
  • Supercell - A thunderstorm with a persistent rotating updraft. Responsible for a percentage of severe weather events - especially tornadoes, extremely large hail and damaging straight-line winds.

  • Tactical (Informal) Messages - Brief verbal or informal written messages, intended for direct and immediate delivery.
  • Task Force - A combination of mixed resources, with common communication and a leader.
  • Terrorism - The unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives.
  • Third Party Traffic - Messages transmitted on behalf of a person or organization other than a licensed Amateur Radio operator. Also applies to when a person other than a licensed operator is allowed to use the microphone.
  • Title 35 - contains the Pennsylvania emergency management service code
  • Topographical Map (Topo Map) - A map used for search (usually 1:24,000) which shows physical features of a region and allows a certified search manager to deploy resources accordingly.
  • Tornado - A violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm, in direct contact with the ground.
  • Toxic Materials - A type of chemical that can cause chemical harm at an incident scene. They produce harmful effects depending on the concentration of the materials and the length of exposure to them. An individual can have chronic or acute exposures to toxic materials.
  • Traffic - Messages passed via radio communication. (spoken or digital), usually formal, written messages. More generally, any messages or activity on a particular frequency.
  • Triage - Sorting out the wounded at a major incident so that the most serious cases are treated first.
  • Tropical Depression - A circulation at the surface in the tropics with a highest constant wind speed of 38 mph (33 knots) or less. A tropical depression is watched for possible development into a tropical storm.
  • Tropical Storm -A distinct circulation with a wind speed of 39 to 74 mph (34 to 63 knots). Tropical storms often develop further into hurricanes.
  • Tsunami - A series of waves (with long wavelengths when traveling across the deep ocean) that are generated by a displacement of massive amounts of water through underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or landslides. Tsunami waves travel at very high speed across the ocean but as they begin to reach shallow water they slow down and the wave grows steeper.

  • Unified Command - A method for all agencies or individuals who have jurisdictional responsibility at the incident, to contribute to determining overall objectives for the incident and selection of a strategy to achieve the objectives.

  • Virga - An observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground.
  • Volatile - Easily changes from a liquid to a vapor.
  • Vulnerability - Degree of loss (from 0% to 100%) resulting from a potential damaging phenomenon.

  • Wall Clouds - a large, localized, lowering of cloud that develops beneath the base of a cumulonimbus cloud and indicates the area of the strongest updraft within a storm. These areas sometimes form tornadoes.
  • Warning - The severe weather event is imminent or occurring in the warned area. Warnings are for relatively small geographic areas, such as single or small groups of adjacent counties.
  • Watch - Conditions are favorable for severe weather in or near the watch area. Watches are for relatively large geographic areas, such as portions of or multiple states.
    NOTE: The time frames of "watchs" and "warnings" are weather event specific, i.e.: a tornado watch is a shorter period of time than a hurricane watch.
  • Water Spout - A tornado over a body of water (not a river).

  • ZULU - Time (usually military) - see UTC

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