Posts Tagged ‘EOC’


Emergency Preparedness Vocabulary to Add to Your Skill Set

Friday, February 2nd, 2018
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New Words

New words for 2017

Did you know that the big dictionaries (Merriam Webster, Oxford English, etc.) routinely add hundreds and sometimes even thousands of words every year?

In 2017 a lot of the new words were what I’ll call “social terms” – words like froyo, troll, mic drop, and dog-whistle. Don’t overlook the word conlang, referring to a “constructed language” like Elvish or Klingon.

I certainly don’t USE these words every day. But I try not to look dumb if someone uses them in my hearing!

But let’s move on for a light-hearted tour of  . . .

Words for emergency preparedness

New words emerge in the narrower world of emergency planning, too. Plus, of course, there are “old” words that resurface for one reason or another.

Here’s a list of words that have reappeared and that I’m likely to hear or even use at any time. How familiar are YOU with them?

Some commonly abbreviated expressions

. . . useful in emergency planning and also in everyday situations.

NSFW – I thought I’d start with this one because if you see it, you may be in trouble. It stands for Not Suitable For Work and refers to internet content (most likely nudity, profanity, etc.) not appropriate for the workplace. Compare to SFW (Safe For Work).

ICS – Emergency professionals throw this around, pronouncing just the letters. They stand for Incident Command System and refer to the standardized way official groups (First Responders, FEMA, etc.) respond to an emergency, or “the incident.”

IoT – OK, we’ve written about this a lot lately so it should be familiar as the Internet of Things, for example, the automated devices that you’re using to control your house — door locks, air conditioning, etc.

SOP – A favorite business expression that is used in emergency response, too. If people know the Standard Operating Procedure they will be able to work effectively together.

EOC – If you take your neighborhood emergency response group on a tour of your city’s Emergency Operations Center you may be disappointed. The EOC is only activated when there’s an emergency.

BIA – So just how much of an emergency would a power outage represent? What about a direct hit from a tornado? Your Business Impact Analysis should give you some perspective.

HVAC – Pronounced “H-Vac” or “HVAC”. I have to include this because some of my friends are Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning experts!

MTBF, MTTR, MTBU – Some of my favorites, these expressions always invoke a sense of urgency. (I don’t use them, but people in the world of manufacturing sure do!) Mean Time Between Failures, Mean Time To Repair, and Maximum Time to Belly Up.

Hint: If you use any of these words in a written document, it’s always a good idea to write them out fully “at first use.” It’s awfully distracting to read a report filled with abbreviations you don’t recognize.

Frequently-used but confusing industry jargon

. . . heard on the news and sometimes misunderstood or mispronounced by newscasters.

Cache – This French word refers to a collection of things (like emergency or military supplies) that are hidden away for later use. It’s pronounced “cash” but often is mispronounced by adding a syllable at the end so it sounds like “cashay.” (Cachet, pronounced “cashay,” is a totally different word that marks someone or something as having status or prestige.)

Failover – I have always been confused by this word but I’m trying to conquer that confusion! Failover refers to a process whereby (for example) a computer system, in the event of a failure, automatically switches to a backup or standby system. (Fail -> switch over)

Pandemic – We are all pretty familiar with the word epidemic, referring to the outbreak of a disease that spreads quickly in a community or region. Pandemic also refers to the spread of disease, but is used when the outbreak spreads across a whole continent or even the world.

OK, now we can tuck these words into our own vocabularies!

A brand new word for 2017

Here’s one I’ve never heard or said, but maybe you could use it in a Scrabble game because yes, it’s now in the dictionary.

Listicle – This is one for writers and bloggers. It refers to a published article that is made up of . . . you guessed it, a list! (Why, this Advisory, with some strategic editing, could become a listicle!)

Whew! That’s it for this week. Hope you have found these words as interesting or amusing or puzzling as I have. (Remember, learning new words is recommended for keeping your brain fresh . . .)

Send me your favorite words and I’ll include them next time!  In the meanwhile, if you want more on vocabulary, check out our earlier Advisories, listed below.

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team