ERHMS Glossary

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  • After Action Report (AAR): Reports that summarize and analyzes performance in both exercise and actual events. The reports for exercises may also evaluate achievement of the selected exercise objectives and demonstration of the overall capabilities being exercised.

  • Brief Symptom Inventory: An instrument that provides patient-reported data to help support clinical decision-making at intake and during the course of treatment in multiple settings.

  • Clinical care: Medical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment services for an individual worker’s health concerns or impairments, including concerns related to mental health or injury. Healthcare services are rendered by licensed healthcare practitioners and subject to local standards of care, medical ethics, provider–patient relationship expectations, business rules, and facility licensure.
  • Command staff: An incident command component that consists of a public information officer, Safety Officer, liaison officer, and other positions as required, who report directly to the Incident Commander.

  • Emergency: Any incident, whether natural or man-made, that requires responsive action to protect life or property. Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, an emergency means 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 Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS): A framework of activities designed to allow for the monitoring and surveillance of emergency responder safety and health during all phases of emergency response: pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment.

  • Functional and Access Needs: The basic needs of all persons, including bathing, clothing, eating, grooming, ambulating, toileting, and emotional well-being.

  • Health and Safety Plan (HASP): A procedure that assigns responsibilities, establishes personnel protection standards, specifies safe operation procedures, and provides contingencies that may arise during field operations.

  • Incident Command: Entity responsible for overall management of the incident. Consists of the Incident Commander, either single or unified command, and any assigned supporting staff.
  • Incident Commander: The individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The Incident Commander has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.
  • Incident Command System: A standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide an integrated organizational structure that reflects the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procurements, and communications operating within a common organizational structure and designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. It is used for all kinds of emergencies and is applicable to small, as well as large and complex, incidents. ICS is used by various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, to organize field-level incident management operations.

  • Kessler Questionnaire (K10): A 10-item questionnaire intended to provide a global measure of distress based on questions about anxiety and depressive symptoms that a person has experienced in the most recent 4-week period.

  • Liaison officer: A member of the Command Staffresponsible for coordinating with representatives from cooperating and assisting agencies or organizations.
  • Logistics Section: (1) In the Incident Command, the section responsible for providing facilities, services, and material support for the incident. (2) Joint Field Office (JFO), the section that coordinates logistics support to include control of and accountability for Federal supplies and equipment; resource ordering; delivery of equipment, supplies, and services to the JFO and other field locations; facility location, setup, space management, building services, and general facility operations; transportation coordination and fleet management services; information and technology systems services; administrative services, such as mail management and reproduction; and customer assistance.

  • Medical monitoring: Ongoing clinical assessment of physical and mental health in an individual worker to detect emerging health and injury effects that may be work-related (e.g., physiological, psychological), and to inform needs for medical treatment or other services and/or worker exposure control(s). Once the baseline clinical status has been established, participants in the program are periodically assessed for changes in their clinical status.
  • Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 (MOS SF-12): The 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) was developed for the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS), a multi-year study of patients with chronic conditions. The resulting short-form survey instrument provides a solution to the problem faced by many investigators who must restrict survey length. The instrument was designed to reduce respondent burden while achieving minimum standards of precision for purposes of group comparisons involving multiple health dimensions (RAND).
  • Medical screening: Medically assessing individual workers for the presence (or absence) of specific physical or mental health conditions at a specific time, with the express purpose of early diagnosis and, if appropriate, treatment (secondary prevention). Medical screening focuses on assessment of fitness and ability to safely and effectively deploy on a response and may entail history taking, examination, and/or testing procedures.
  • Medical surveillance: Systematic and ongoing collection and evaluation of population clinical data (e.g., physical and mental health, work histories, medical/psychiatric examination, laboratory and imaging studies or other clinical testing) that is used to identify hazards, to eliminate ongoing hazardous exposure, and to evaluate exposure–health outcome relationships.
  • Medical Unit: Functional unit within the Service Branch of the Logistics Section responsible for the development of the Medical Emergency Plan, and for providing emergency medical treatment of responders.

  • National Incident Management System: A set of principles that provides a systematic, proactive approach guiding government agencies at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life or property and harm to the environment.
  • National Response Framework: Guides how the nation conducts all-hazards response. The Framework documents the key response principles, roles, and structures that organize national response. It describes how communities, states, the federal government, and private-sector and nongovernmental partners apply these principles for a coordinated, effective national response. It describes special circumstances where the federal government exercises a larger role, including incidents where federal interests are involved and catastrophic incidents where a state would require significant support. It allows first responders, decision makers, and supporting entities to provide a unified national response.
  • Nongovernmental Organization (NGO): An entity with an association that is based on interests of its members, individuals, or institutions. It is not created by a government, but it may work cooperatively with government. Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit. Examples of NGOs include faith-based charity organizations and the American Red Cross. NGOs, including voluntary and faith-based groups, provide relief services to sustain life, reduce physical and emotional distress, and promote the recovery of disaster victims. Often these groups provide specialized services that help individuals with disabilities. NGOs and voluntary organizations play a major role in assisting emergency managers before, during, and after an emergency.

  • Occupational health surveillance: Refers to the ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health and injury data related to an event’s emergency responder population as a whole; the data are intended to inform public health practice. The analysis and interpretation of these data should be disseminated in a timely manner to those who need to know (such as the incident command personnel, health and safety representatives), which must include the workers who contributed their health information to the system.

  • Post-event responder health tracking: Refers to the collective suite of options within the ERHMS system for following the health and functional status (includes injury) of workers involved in incident response and recovery operations after their response work is completed (i.e., after workers demobilize and return to their usual locations and activities).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: A type of anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event. A post-traumatic stress disorder can develop when an individual experiences or witnesses an event that causes intense fear, helplessness, or horror (
  • Public information officer: A member of the Command Staff responsible for working with the public and media and/or with other agencies to provide required incident-related information.

  • Responders: Includes paid affiliated personnel, contractors, subcontractors, and volunteer workers involved in incident operations. Responders include police, fire, and emergency medical personnel, as well as other responder groups such as public health personnel, cleanup, and repair/restoration workers.
  • Response: Immediate actions to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery.
  • Roster: A roster is a list of response workers who have been or continue to be participating in any capacity during a response event, or who are available and ready to respond before an event. The purpose of maintaining such a roster is to provide a formal record of all those who have participated in response and cleanup activities. It functions as a mechanism to contact workers about possible work-related symptoms of illness or injury, as needed, and serves as the basis for determining which workers may require post-event tracking of their health.

  • Safety Officer: A member of the Command Staff responsible for monitoring and assessing safety hazards or unsafe situations, and for developing measures for ensuring personal safety. The Safety Officer may have assistants.
  • Sheehan Disability Scale: The Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) was developed to assess functional impairment in three inter-related domains—work/school, social, and family life.
  • Sprint-E: An 11-question post-disaster assessment and referral tool that contains the Short Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Rating Interview (SPRINT) and several questions regarding depression and impaired functioning.

  • Unified Command: An Incident Command System application used when more than one agency has incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions. Agencies work together through the designated members of the UC, often the senior persons from agencies and/or disciplines participating in the UC, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan.
Page last reviewed: April 4, 2018
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