Glossary of Disaster Related Terms

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ABC—American Baptist Churches in the USA, which do disaster work through Church World Service (CWS). Not to be confused with the Southern Baptists who do feeding in the emergency phase in some parts of the country.

AME/AMEZ—African Methodist Episcopal Zion church. They are active in disaster response in some areas of the country through CWS.

ARC / AmRc—American Red Cross

ARRL/ARES—The amateur (‘ham’) radio network.

CDRC—Conference Disaster Response Coordinator

CERT—Community Emergency Response Team

CERTC—Conference Early Response Team Coordinator

CENTER MANAGER—The person in charge of the Red Cross Service Center

CME—Christian Methodist Church

COB—Church of the Brethren. Assists with clean-up and rebuilding

CRWRC—Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. Provides advocacy and rebuilding

CWS—Church World Service. The relief arm of the National Council of Churches, also the umbrella for the work of major denominations. Provides trained volunteer consultants to assist in the formation of interfaith recovery agencies.

DFO—Disaster Field Office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is where the FEMA field operations take place. Usually the DFO and the DRC are in different locations

DRC—The FEMA coordinated Disaster Recovery Center (formally called the DAC-Disaster Assistance Center) where victims can go in person to make application for various federal/state assistance. These centers have largely been replaced by toll-free telephone application centers. Some agencies present are: Social Security Administration, Small Business Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service.

DWI—Disaster Welfare Inquiry. A service of the Red Cross, often in cooperation with the ARAL/ARES in locating persons in the area of disaster.

EM—Emergency Management – onsite decision makers.

ESA—Employment Security Administration

FEMA—Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA coordinates the Federal Response Plan of the various federal agencies that have responsibility in disaster assistance. Most assistance is directed to the repair of infrastructure, i.e… bridges and roads. Individual Assistance is largely in the form of low interest loans administered by the Small Business Administration. Some grant money is awarded through the Individual and Family Grant program, coordinated between federal and state agencies. FEMA can only come in to a state’s aid at the invitation of the governor and approval of the President in the form of a disaster declaration.

FCO—Federal Coordinating Office. This is the “boss” on-site of the federal response.

ICS—Incident Command System (Methodists call it Incident Coordination System)

INTERFAITH—A local non-profit recovery agency made up of representatives of local faith groups and largely funded by their denominations.

LDR—Lutheran Disaster Response – provides case management and funds for recovery.

LDS—Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Have a strong emergency relief program, especially where their congregations are located.

LTRC—Long Term Recovery Committee sometimes called a Long Term Recovery Organization.

MASS CARE—A sheltering service for a large number of persons displaced by the disaster, provided by the American Red Cross. Mass care involves mass feeding. Often in a large scale disaster, food is prepared and transported to shelters or distributed by mobile feeding vans. The Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists and the Southern Baptists also do feeding. United Methodists should not open their own shelter. Red Cross approved shelter includes liability and damage insurance. Local churches that open shelters without this approval will be responsible for any risk or damage to the facility or its residents.

MDS—Mennonite Disaster Service, through which 30 Mennonite and Amish groups cooperate in clean-up and rebuilding for those who cannot do it alone.

MITIGATION—“Reducing the hazard” Any attempt to reduce future damage and harm such as relocating or elevating homes, building infrastructure to reduce flooding, etc. FEMA’s “Project Impact” is an effort to build disaster-resistant communities to help reduce the high cost of recovery.

MOBILE—Panel trucks that agencies bring to disaster sites to feed workers and victims.

FEEDING  VANS—During the emergency and relief phases. Red Cross, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists and Southern Baptists are the major organizations who operate these.

NVOAD—National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, which, for some reason, some transpose letters and call it NOVAD. This is the Umbrella group for all the recognized non-profit agencies that have a national presence in disaster response. It is not an operational entity, but a coordinating, communicating, educational coalition.   NVOAD is linked by agreement to the state VOADS and to FEMA.

PIM—Partners in Mission, Texas Conference only.

PIO—Public Information Office, the group responsible for media relations.

PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER RESPONSE—An emerging program operated by the Presbyterian USA denomination similar in scope to UMCOR.

REACT—Radio Emergency Associated Communications TeamThese are the citizen band folks interested in assisting with disaster.

RCC—Resource Coordinating Committee. Formerly called the Unmet Needs Committee. This is a gathering of the case supervisors of the various recovery agencies on site to coordinate resources and avoid duplication. The FEMA VOLAG will often call this group together.

SALVATION ARMY—This international agency’s disaster arm is noted for its feeding, casework, warehouse management and other relief efforts. What most people don’t know is that the Salvation Army is a church denomination and very much a part of our Western heritage.

SBA—Small Business Administration, an arm of the federal government charged with; administering low interest disaster loans to businesses and homeowners. Most Governmental disaster assistance to individuals and families is in the form of loans. Applicants must be turned down for a loan before they are eligible for the IFG program.

SDA—Seventh Day Adventist Church. Best known for its work in the emergency and relief stages for operation of distribution of water and pre-cleaned, packaged and sized clothing. Their volunteers are excellent when it comes to handling donated goods.

SERVICE CENTER—Operated by the Red Cross and separate from the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Victims must register with FEMA and the Red Cross to get full assistance. Red Cross disbursement orders are written to the family and merchant of their choice to cover the cost of basic immediate needs for clothing and furniture, etc.

UCC—United Church of Christ which works primarily through Church World Service, but in some places is developing its own program.

UMCOR—United Methodist Committee on Relief, the avenue through which United Methodists work in refugee resettlement, world hunger and disaster response in over 90 countries.

UNMET NEEDS—See Resource Coordinating Committee. Also known as Long-term Recovery.

UMVIM or VIM—United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. A program of the church that links volunteers with projects worldwide. UMVIM and UMCOR have developed a partnership for disaster response.

VOAD—Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. At the state or regional group of NVOAD, sometimes you’ll hear the postal abbreviation of the state linked to the VOAD acronym, i.e. MIVOAD, for Michigan.

VAL—Voluntary Agency Liaison. Each FEMA region has a VAL whose job it is to interface between the governmental response and the voluntary sector. Red Cross will also appoint a VAL to provide a link between that agency and the other volunteer groups on site.

VOLAG—Voluntary Organization Liaison Agent