Name Acronym Description
4x4 Response
Access Control Point ACP
Accord européean relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route ADR
Aerial fuels
Aeronautical rescue co- ordination centre ARCC
Air Accidents Investigation Branch AAIB
Air management
Aircraft Co-ordinator AirCO
Aircraft post-crash management incident officer APCMIO
All lane running ALR
Alpha (a) radiation a-radiation
Anaerobic digestion

Renewable energy process involving a collection of processes by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen to produce fuel (methane).

Animal welfare charities

This includes: 

  • RSPCA – Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 

  • SSPCA – Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 

  • USPCA – Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 

Aqueous film-forming foam AFFF
Areas of nature conservation ANC
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB
Areas of Special Scientific Interest ASSI
Association of Lowland Search and Rescue ASLAR
ATEX directive ATEX

The ATEX directive consists of two EU directives describing what equipment and work environment is allowed in an environment with an explosive atmosphere. ATEX derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosives. 

Auto-ignition temperature

Minimum temperature required to initiate or cause self-sustained combustion of material in the absence of any external source of ignition. 

Auxiliary power units APU
Back burning
Base Controller (EA role)
BASIS Registration Limited

Materials found at controlled sites such as laboratories. These materials would fall within the categorisation systems recognised throughout the industry.  

Biological agents 

Broad term used by industry to refer to both biohazards and biological risks (see biohazards and biological risks)  

Biological risks 

Materials found outside of controlled sites, such as blood at a road traffic incident.  

Boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion BLEVE

Boiling liquid in liquefied gas containers subject to heat that rapidly vaporises and expands, explosively bursting the container. 

Boundary starvation

Removing flammable materials or cargo on all six sides of a fire compartment to prevent fire spread, especially on board vessels.


Animals including domestic cattle, buffaloes, bison, yaks and antelopes 

British Association of Immediate Care Schemes BASICS

A large watertight chamber, open at the bottom, from which the water is kept out by air pressure and in which construction work may be carried out under water. 

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR
Casualty Clearing Officer
Casualty Clearing Station CasCS
Casualty Information Unit
Category 1 responder Cat 1
Category 2 responder Cat 2
Chemical abstracts service number CAS
Chemical and Pipelines Emergency Planning Liaison Group CAP EPLG
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives CBRNE
Chemsafe Scheme CHEMSAFE
Chest seal dressing
Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulations  CLP 

Regulations that adopt the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System (GHS) on classifying and labelling chemicals across all European Union countries, including the UK.  

Common Operating Picture COP
Common Recognised Information Picture CRIP

Two or more diseases existing at the same time in the body

Compressed-air breathing apparatus CABA

Sometimes referred to as a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or simply breathing apparatus (BA), CABA is a device worn by rescue workers, firefighters and others to provide breathable air in an irrespirable atmosphere. 

Concept of Operations CONOPS
Confined space supervisor

Confined space supervisors should be given responsibility to make sure that the necessary precautions are taken, to check safety at each stage; they may need to remain present while work is underway. 

Confined vapour cloud explosion CVCE
Control line
Convection column
Critical National Infrastructure CNI
Critical temperature

Temperature above which no amount of pressure can liquefy a gas. Does not relate to flammability or likelihood of explosion. 

Dead fuels
Decontamination area
Defence Accident Investigation Branch DAIB
Defence Safety Authority DSA
Definitive care
Deliberate reconnaissance
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs DEFRA
Detection, Identification and Monitoring   DIM

A suite of Detection Identification and Monitoring equipment provided by the Government to fire and rescue services.  

Detection –the recognition of the presence of a CBRN material.   

Identification – the determination of which CBRN material is present.  

Monitoring – a continuous or periodic process of qualitatively or quantitatively determining the presence or absence of CBRN material.  

Direct Electronic Incident Transfer DEIT

Process of leaving a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.

Distribution network operators DNOs
Drain earth
Drogue gun
Duration table
Ebb current
Electro-explosive device EED
Electronic Communications Resilience & Response Group EC-RRG
Emergency action code EAC
Emergency Reference Levels ERLs
Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group
Emergency Traffic Management
End of life vehicle site ELV
Enhanced Information Service for Emergency Calls EISEC

The perimeter of a building is referred to as an envelope

Environment Group EG
Environment Monitoring and Response Centre EMARC

A horse or other member of the horse family, such as donkeys, mules, ponies and zebras 

European Aviation Safety Agency EASA
European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange ECURIE
Exothermic oxidation
Explosive canopy
Explosive Ordnance Disposal EOD
Fall arrest

Prevention of a fall arrest system user from colliding with the ground or structure in a free fall. 

Fall Arrest
Fall mitigation

Reduction in the severity of the hazards and risk associated with fall protection. 

Fall prevention

Prevention of a fall arrest system user from colliding with the ground or structure in a free fall.

Fall protection

Prevention of an operative from going into free fall by way of a rigid barrier or similar protection method. 

Fall restraint

Personal fall protection system that restricts the travel of the user away from potentially hazardous areas. 

Film-forming fluoroprotein FFFP
Fine fuels
Fire intensity
Fire loading
Fire point

Minimum temperature at which a mixture of gas and vapour and air continues to burn in an open container, when ignited. 

Fixed electrical ground power FEGP
Flame bending

The use of water sprays to bend a flame usually away from a risk or to protect personnel 

Flame height
Flame length
Flash point

Lowest temperature required to raise the vapour pressure of a liquid to a level where the vapour concentration in air near the surface of the liquid is within the flammable range; the air and vapour mixture will ignite in the presence of a suitable ignition source, usually a flame.

Fleet Diving Squadron FDS
Force Incident Manager FIM
Fourth rail
Fractional horsepower motor FHP
Free surface effect
Fuel break
G-force limiter
General aviation
Girt bar
Glasgow Coma Scale GCS
Global Maritime Distress and Safety System GMDSS
Globally Harmonised System GHS
Government departments responsible for the natural environment

This includes: 

  • Defra – Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs 

  • DAERA – Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs 

  • Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate

Government Technical Advisor GTA
Ground fire
Ground fuels
Ground power unit GPU

Bird faeces. 

Haemostatic agents
Hazard identification number HIN
Hazard manager
Hazardous Area Response Teams HART
Health and Safety Executive HSE
Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate HSE ND
Health Protection Agency HPA
Health Protection Agency Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards HPA CRCE
Health Protection Scotland HPS
Heat flux
Helical flow
Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine HMTD

Home-made explosive. 

High Rise Building
High-expansion foam HX
Highways Agency Managed Motorways
Horizontal fuel arrangement
Hydraulic injection
Immediate care practitioners

(of liquids) not forming a homogeneous mixture when mixed

Improvised decontamination
Improvised explosive device IED

Bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action. Improvised explosive devices have many forms but the most common group is peroxide explosives. 

Incident log
Inflatable tubular system

A type of airbag system.

Infrastructure manager

An infrastructure manager is the person who is responsible for developing, maintaining, managing or operating an infrastructure. 

Inland water categories
Instrument landing system ILS
Integrated Risk Management Plan IRMP
Inter-Agency Liaison Officer IALO or ILO
Interim decontamination
International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA
International Commission on Radiological Protection ICRP
International Maritime Dangerous Goods code IMDG
International Maritime Organisation IMO
International Nuclear & Radiological Event Scale INES
International ship-to-shore firefighting connection
Intrinsically safe

Process of confining people to a space in an emergency, especially on board vessel.

Ionising radiation
Jaw thrust
Joint Decision Model JDM
Joint Dynamic Hazard Assessment JDHA
Joint Service Co-ordination Group
Ladder fuel
Laminar flow
Last known position LKP
Lethal dose  LD50

Amount of a material, given all at once, that causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals. The LD50 is one way to measure the short-term poisoning potential (acute toxicity) of a material.  

Lifeboat Operations Manager
Line blocked
Liquefied natural gas LNG

Gases obtained from a natural gas field or by fractional distillation of petroleum crude oil (such as methane and ethane) and stored and transported as a liquefied refrigerated (cryogenic) gas. 

Liquefied petroleum gas LPG

Gases obtained from fractional distillation of petroleum crude oil such as propane, butane, which are stored and transported as a liquefied gas under pressure.

Local emergency planning groups
Lower explosive limit LEL
Lower explosive limit LEL

Lowest concentration of vapour/gas in air at a given pressure and temperature that will propagate a flame when exposed to an ignition source. 

Lower flammable limit

Lowest concentration of vapour/gas in air at a given pressure and temperature that will propagate a flame when exposed to an ignition source. 

Machine-made mineral fibres MMMF

A wide range of materials that use the inherent strength and durability of woven fibres bonded together with resins. Previously known as Man-made mineral fibres

Major Accident Hazard Pipeline(s) MAH
pipelines; MAHP(s)
Man lock

An airlock that allows workers to pass in and out of spaces with differing air pressures, especially one providing access to and from a tunnel, shaft, or caisson in which the air is compressed. 

Manual in-line stabilisation
Marine Response Centre MRC
Maritime Incident Response Group MIRG
Maritime Patrol Aircraft MPA
Maritime Rescue Co- ordination Centre MRCC
Maritime Rescue Sub Centre
Maritime Safety Information MSI
Master of Vessel
Media Technical Briefer MTB
Medical Link Call
Military / MOD Coordinating Authority
Military Liaison Officer MLO
Miniature detonating cord MDC

(of liquids) forming a homogeneous mixture when added together

Missing Persons Enquiry Unit
Mobile operations manager MOM
MOD Headquarters Defence Nuclear Emergency Organisation HQ DNEO
Multi Agency Incident Transfer MAIT
National Arrangements for Incidents Involving Radioactivity NAIR
National Chemical Emergency Centre NCEC
National frameworks NCAF
National Scenic Areas NSA

In Scotland, sites identified with outstanding scenery that require special protection from inappropriate development. Refer to National Scenic Areas Scotland for more information

Natural Resources Wales
Nuclear Accident Response Organisation NARO
Nuclear Emergency Planning Liaison Group NEPLG

A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that causes disease

Pneumatic caisson

Pneumatic caissons are sealed at the top and filled with compressed air to keep water and mud out at depth. An airlock allows access to the chamber. 

Polychlorinated biphenyls PCB
Precursor chemicals

Compounds that participate in a chemical reaction to produce another compound. 

Public Health England PHE
RAF regional liaison officer RAFRLO
Rail Accident Investigation Branch RAIB
Rail Incident Commander RIC
Railway Safety Directorate
Railways Incident Officer RIO
Ram air turbine RAT
Reglement International concernant le transport de marchandises Dangereuses par chemin de fer RID
River left
River right


Run at caution
Running rails
Safe air
Safety of life at sea SOLAS

A person engaged in the salvage of a ship or items lost at sea.

Scheduled Ancient Monument

As defined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, that makes provision for the investigation, preservation and recording of matters of archaeological or historical interest

Scottish Environment Protection Agency SEPA

Hole in a vessel's side to carry water overboard from the deck.

Ship's plans

Blueprint drawings showing ship construction.

Sites of special scientific interest SSSI
Slave control panel
SMART motorway SMART
Special Area of Conservation SAC
Special Protection Area SPA
Stability liaison officer

Functional role responsible for co-ordinating the liaison with subject matter experts affecting vessel stability.

Sternal notch
Stoichiometric mixture
Strategic Co-ordinating Group SCG
Strategic Co-ordination Centre SCC
Technical rescue team

Technical rescue teams are those who employ specialist rescue tools and skills. These disciplines include rope rescue, swift-water rescue, confined space rescue, ski rescue, cave rescue, trench/excavation rescue, and building collapse rescue, among others. 

Total Operations Processing System TOPS
Traction current
Triacetone triperoxide TATP

Home-made explosive. 

Tunnel-boring machine TBM

A machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. 

Unmetalled road
Upper explosive limit UEL

Maximum concentration of vapour/gas in air at a given pressure and temperature in which a flame can be propagated. 

Upper flammable, limit

Maximum concentration of vapour/gas in air at a given pressure and temperature in which a flame can be propagated. 

Vacuum mattress
Vertical fuel arrangement
Veterinary organisations

This includes: 

  • BARTA – British Animal Rescue & Trauma Care Association 

  • BEVA – British Equine Veterinary Association 

  • BVA – British Veterinary Association 

  • RCVS – Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 

Wales Resilience Forum
Waste Industry Safety and Health forum

Representatives from the waste management and recycling industry. Members include the Health and Safety Executive, professional associations, trade unions and government bodies involved in waste management and recycling.

Water bottoming

Person navigating to a particular location, especially in complex environments


The air resistance of a moving object, such as a vessel or a rotating machine part, or the force of the wind on a stationary object. 

Work positioning
Work restraint

Personal fall protection system that restricts the travel of the user away from potentially hazardous areas. 

Workplace exposure limit WEL