Australian Disaster Resilience Glossary

Fast Facts

3,241 terms and definitions
Incorporating key terms from 7 national and international glossaries

The Australian Disaster Resilience Glossary is an integrated online glossary of disaster resilience and emergency management terms and definitions. Its purpose is to allow consistency and avoid ambiguity in the definition and use of words and terms associated with disaster resilience and emergency management.

About this Glossary

The Glossary provides a consensus on terms and definitions or information on the range of terms and definitions encountered in disaster and emergency management to account for jurisdictional and contextual variation.

The Glossary does not present new or different definitions of terms, but brings together definitions from a number of existing sources into a single national collection that will:

  • be published online (with print on demand capability);
  • recognise words (and definitions) that are used across multiple communities through to those that are used exclusively by a single community;
  • be governed by a set of principles and guidelines to ensure consistency across the collection;
  • have online read and search functionality;
  • include the ability for users to recommend new words and provide suggestions or comment on existing definitions;
  • include a process for continuous review of the national glossary collection.

The development of the Glossary has been supported by key organisations with a role in disaster and emergency management in Australia. These organisations provided links to their glossaries and were provided with the opportunity to submit terms and definitions for inclusion and will notify AIDR when they are updated.

The Glossary will continue to develop and over time will include related terms, images, pronunciation audio, and links to additional references.

The Glossary is intended to be used as an online resource. However, it is also available to print in full or by selecting categories of words.

The types of organisations that might use the Glossary include:

  • Local governments
  • State and Commonwealth government departments
  • Emergency and disaster management professional groups
  • Individuals and community groups
  • Researchers
  • School children and schools
  • Private sector organisations
  • Educational institutions

As situations change, the Glossary will be updated. We welcome your contribution to the Glossary and encourage you to propose new words and changes to the Glossary by contacting AIDR via the Contact Us page.

The Glossary includes key terms used in the following glossaries:

Emergency Management Australia Glossary 1998
AFAC Urban Glossary AFAC Bushfire Glossary
Biosecurity Emergency Management - Glossary UNISDR Terminology
Bureau of Meteorology Weather Words Bureau of Meteorology Glossary
The Sphere Project Glossary NATSAR Glossary


Gregory Rabassa, revered translator of Gabriel García Márquez, wrote that ‘every act of communication is an act of translation.’ Even when speaking the same tongue, we so often get our wires crossed. It’s not just words but gestures, tone, cultural context and, of course, silence that convey meaning – intentionally or otherwise. (The Wheeler Centre 2017)
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