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Updated in 2023, the FEMA Acronyms, Abbreviations and Terms (FAAT) PDF contains a full listing of commonly used terms.

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An entry made by a member of a discretionary grant team in the federal agency's automated accounting system authorizing payments of federal grant funds to a grantee.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

A government agency in the Department of Labor whose responsibility is to assure and maintain a safe and healthy work environment by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Office for Grants and Training

An office in the Preparedness Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security that oversees the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

The executive agency that advises the President on the federal budget. OMB helps the President formulate his spending plans; evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies and procedures; assesses competing funding demands among agencies and sets funding priorities. OMB ensures agency reports, rules, testimony and proposed legislation are consistent with the President's budget and administration policies. In addition, OMB oversees and coordinates the administration's procurement, financial management, information and regulatory policies. In each of these areas, OMB's role is to help improve administrative management, develop better performance measures and coordinating mechanisms and reduce any unnecessary burdens on the public.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

OMB Circulars

Administrative policy documents issued by OMB giving instruction to federal agencies on a variety of topics, including the administration of federal grants and cooperative agreements.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

On-Site Dehumidification

Super-dry air is pumped into the building and moist air drawn out. A useful method for damp library and archival collections in place; may be used in modern buildings to dry carpeting, wallboard and furnishings. Do not use for historic structures of wood or plaster or most museum collections.

Glossary Section: Salvage

Operational Budget

The budget that supports fire-related programs and/or emergency response activities (salaries, maintenance, equipment, apparatus, etc.).

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Other Non-Residential Building

This is a subcategory of nonresidential buildings; a non-habitational building that does not qualify as a business building or residential building.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Other Residential Building

A residential building that is designed for use as a residential space for 5 or more families or a mixed-use building in which the total floor area devoted to non-residential uses is less than 25% of the total floor area within the building.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Other Residential Property

Either an other-residential building, the contents within an other residential building, or both.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Otherwise Protected Areas (OPAs)

Areas established under federal, state or local law or held by a qualified organization, primarily for wildlife refuge, sanctuary, recreational or natural resource conservation purposes. The only federal spending prohibition within OPAs is federal flood insurance.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Out-As-Shown Determination

An alternative outcome of the FEMA letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) review process stating that a specific property is located outside the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as indicated on the Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) or Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program


Other Federal agencies.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework

Office of Chief Counsel

The Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) cadre is responsible for ensuring that FEMA field operations are consistent with all applicable statutes, regulations, executive orders, and agency policies, directives, and standards. They conduct legal research, prepare and provide advice involving a wide variety of topics including disaster response, recovery, hazard mitigation, flood insurance, floodplain management, procurement, contracts, grants, environmental and historic preservation, property, finance, financial management, claims, freedom of information, privacy, ethics, training and education, and administrative procedure. They also collaborate with counterparts and provide legal advice.


  • Juris Doctorate degree from an ABA accredited law school
  • Active membership in good standing of a bar of the highest court of a State, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia
  • At least two (2) years of full-time professional legal experience gained after being admitted to the bar
Glossary Section: Employment Cadres


The Operations (OPS) cadre ensures the efficient and effective delivery of immediate emergency assistance to individuals and communities impacted by major disasters, emergencies, or acts of terrorism. They coordinate the delivery of accessible Federal assistance programs and services, including life-saving assistance (i.e. search and rescue support, medical support, and evacuation support) and life-sustaining assistance (i.e. shelter, water, and food programs). They are also responsible for all tactical incident planning and operations.


  • Experience with managing complex projects, tasks and programs
  • Experience coordinating with state, tribal, local, and other federal agency officials
  • Demonstrate effective supervisory and leadership principles
  • Ability to comprehend and understand Stafford Act Programs and Emergency Management principles
  • Ability to operate in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
Glossary Section: Employment Cadres


See Floodplain Management Ordinance.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program


All new construction and substantial improvements in V Zones must have the space below the lowest floor either free of obstruction or constructed with non-supporting breakaway walls. Foundations that offer minimal resistance to floodwaters passing beneath an elevated building are required in V Zones. Fill is prohibited for the structural support of buildings in V Zones.

National Flood Insurance Program Requirements

  • 60.3 - Criteria for land management and use
    • (e) (5) - Free of Obstruction Requirement
    • (e) (6) - Fill in V Zones
Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program


In A Zones, all new construction and substantial improvements may have fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that are usable solely for vehicle parking, building access, or storage, in an area other than a basement, which are subject to flooding These enclosed areas must be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs to meet this requirement must be certified or meet the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding,
  2. The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade. Garage doors do not meet the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements for openings.

National Flood Insurance Program Requirements

  • 60.3 - Criteria for land management and use
    • (a) (3) - Reasonably Safe from Flooding
    • (c) (5) - Openings Requirement in A Zones
Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Occupant Emergency Plan (OEP)

A short-term emergency response plan which establishes procedures for evacuating buildings or sheltering-in-place to safeguard lives and property. Organizations may refer to this plan as the Emergency Plan or Building Closure Plan. Common scenarios that would lead to the activation of these plans include inclement weather, fire, localized power outages and localized communications outages. These types of events are generally short-term in nature.

Glossary Section: Continuity


A statewide or territory-wide IMAC system where the political subdivisions of a state or territory are not members of the system until they take action to join the system.

Glossary Section: Building Code Adoption Tracking