Santa Clara County, California
Standardized Emergency Management
Introductory Course of Instruction
Module M1: Course Overview
M1.3: Review of Common SEMS Terms and Definitions
In order to gain a better understanding of SEMS, and to allow you
to more effectively use the system, it is considered important that you be able to
describe the following terms and know their relationships in SEMS.
- A condition of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons
or property. Emergencies can be small or large.
- Emergency response agency
- Any organization responding to an emergency or providing mutual
aid support to such an organization whether in the field, at the scene of an incident, or
to an operations center.
- Emergency response personnel
- Personnel involved with an agency's response to an emergency.
- Incident Command System (ICS)
- A nationally used standardized on-scene emergency management
- Multi-agency or inter-agency coordination
- Agencies working together at any SEMS level to facilitate
- Mutual Aid
- Voluntary provision of services and facilities when existing
resources prove to be inadequate. California mutual aid is based upon the State's Master
Mutual Aid Agreement. There are several mutual aid Systems included in the mutual aid
- Operational Area
- An intermediate level of the state emergency services organization
consisting of a county and all political subdivisions within the county area.
- Emergency Operations Center
- A location from which centralized emergency management can be
performed. EOC facilities are found at local governments, operational areas, regions and