Santa Clara County, California

Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)
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 system.
Multi-agency or inter-agency coordination
Agencies working together at any SEMS level to facilitate decisions.
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 program.
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 state.

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