Disaster: A situation that causes significant destruction, disruption or distress to a community.

Emergency: An actual or imminent event that endangers or threatens life, property or the environment and calls for a significant and coordinated response.

Emergency Management Committees: Committees that help develop emergency arrangements for their area, in keeping with an all agencies approach. They are made up of representatives from relevant agencies and organisations, and are set up at state, regional and local levels.

Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN): The overarching emergency management arrangements for NSW, including the agreed roles and functions of various agencies. All NSW Government agencies with responsibilities and functions in disaster response and recovery contribute to this plan.

Hazard: A situation or condition that could harm people or damage property or the environment.

Preparedness activities: Arrangements, plans, community education and information that prepares people to deal effectively with any emergency that could happen.

Prevention and mitigation activities: Efforts to avoid or reduce the impact of hazards and make communities and individuals less vulnerable and more resilient to them.

Resilience: The power to recover quickly. Active planning, preparation and understanding risk all contribute to an individual's and a community's ability to recover from a disaster. When all levels of government, business, the social services sector and the community share responsibility and take action before, during and after a disaster, they are most likely to be resilient.

Sub-plans: Plans produced by the authority with the main responsibility for responding to a particular threat. For example, the NSW State Emergency Service produces the State Flood Plan, and the NSW Rural Fire Service produces the State Bush Fire Plan. Sub-plans address specific hazards or events and give more or different information to the EMPLAN.

Supporting plans: The State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) reviews state and regional emergency management plans. Its Functional Area Committees produce supporting plans that outline how the functional area will coordinate the support service it was allocated in the EMPLAN.

Vulnerability: Sensitivity to the effects of problems and hazards. Physical, social, economic, environmental and political factors can make people more susceptible.