Climate change: a change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
Disaster: A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.(www.unisdr.org)
Emergency: An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, www.m-w.com)
Hazard: Any phenomenon, substance or situation, which has the potential to cause disruption or damage to infrastructure and services, people, their property and their environment.
Mitigation: Taking action in the timeframe before a disaster to lessen post-event damages to lives and property. In risk management, many hazards such as earthquakes cannot be reduced, but the risk from that hazard can be reduced, or mitigated, for example by constructing earthquake-resistant buildings, or shelves that prevent objects from sliding off. The former is structural mitigation, while latter is non-structural.
Prevention: Measures taken to reduce the likelihood of losses. Ideally, these measures would seek to reduce losses to zero, but this often is not possible.
Response: The reaction to an incident or emergency to assess the damage or impact to the site and its components, and actions taken to prevent people and the property from suffering further damage.
Recovery: The process of returning the institution to normal operations, which may also involve the repair and restoration of the building or site.
Risk: The chance of something happening that will have an impact upon objectives.
Vulnerability: The susceptibility and resilience of the community and environment to hazards. Resilience is related to existing controls and the capacity to reduce or sustain harm. Susceptibility is related to exposure.