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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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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework


Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework

Improvements and Betterments

Fixtures, alterations, installations or additions made or acquired solely at a tenant’s expense and comprising part of an insured building.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Incident Command System

A component of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in domestic incident management activities. It is used for a broad spectrum of emergencies, from small to complex incidents, both natural and manmade, including acts of catastrophic terrorism. ICS is used by all levels of government—federal, state, local and tribal as well as by many private-sector and nongovernmental organizations.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Increased Cost of Compliance

Coverage for expenses that a property owner must incur, above and beyond the cost to repair the physical damage the structure actually sustained from a flooding event, to comply with mitigation requirements of state or local floodplain management ordinances or laws. Acceptable mitigation measures are elevation, floodproofing, relocation, demolition or any combination thereof.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Indirect Cost Rate

A percentage established by a federal department or agency for a grantee organization used to compute the dollar amount charged to the grant for reimbursement of indirect costs incurred from doing the work of the grant project.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Indirect Costs

Costs that have been incurred for common or joint objectives not readily identified with a particular cost objective. A cost may not be allocated to an award as an indirect cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose, in like circumstances, has been assigned to an award as a direct cost. Typical examples of indirect costs for many nonprofit organizations includes depreciation or use allowances on buildings and equipment, costs of operating and maintaining facilities, general administration and other general expenses such as the salaries and expenses of executive officers, personnel administration and accounting.
Indirect costs are classified within two broad categories: "Facilities" and "Administration." "Facilities" is defined as depreciation and use allowances on buildings, equipment and capital improvement, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements and operations and maintenance expenses. "Administration" is defined as general administration and general expenses such as the director's office, accounting, personnel, library expenses and all other types of expenditures not specifically chargeable to the grant.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Individual with Disability

The term refers to a person (child or adult) who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a person who has a history or record of such impairment; or a person who is perceived by others as having such impairment. The term “disability” has the same meaning as that used in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008, P.L. 110. 325, as incorporated into the ADA. See for the definition and specific changes to the text of the ADA. State laws and local ordinances may also include individuals outside the Federal definition. Children and adults may have physical, sensory, mental health, cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities resulting in access and functional needs and may require assistance to maintain independence.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework

Individual with Disabilities

Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. This is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition.

Glossary Section: NDHS - National Disaster Housing Strategy

Individual with Limited English Proficiency

The term refers to an individual who does not speak English as his/her primary language and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework

Initial Full Alarm Assignment

Those personnel, equipment and resources ordinarily dispatched upon notification of a structural fire.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program


Injury means any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident during the conduct of firefighting activities or training requiring treatment at a medical facility that results in a loss or curtailment of ability to provide normal active firefighting or EMS duties. Exposures would only count as an "injury" if the exposure eventually resulted in loss or curtailment of duties.

Glossary Section: AFGP - Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

Interim Housing

The intermediate period of housing assistance that covers the gap between sheltering and the return of disaster survivors to permanent housing. Generally, this period may span from the day after the disaster is declared through a period up to 18 months.

Glossary Section: NDHS - National Disaster Housing Strategy


Use blotter paper, uninked newsprint, paper towels, or waxed or freezer paper to keep items from sticking together and prevent dye transfer or running.

Glossary Section: Salvage

Intermediate Recovery

Phase of recovery which involves returning individuals, families, critical infrastructure and essential government or commercial services to a functional, if not pre-disaster, state. Such activities are often characterized by temporary actions that provide a bridge to permanent measures.

Glossary Section: NDRF - National Disaster Recovery Framework

Individual Assistance

The Individual Assistance (IA) cadre ensures that individuals and families affected by disasters have access to the full range of FEMA programs and information in a timely manner and provide the highest level of service to applicants.


  • Communicate with survivors about their case status and disaster assistance programs
  • Develop partnerships with state, local and non-governmental organizations
  • Support the delivery of lifesaving/life-sustaining services
Glossary Section: Employment Cadres

Information Technology

The Information Technology (IT) cadre provides the most efficient, expeditious, and cost saving information services at all incident locations during initial setup, continuation of operations, phase down, and at closure. They are responsible for routine testing, quality assurance, configuration, installation, implementation, and maintenance of networked systems used for the transmission of information in voice, data, and/or video formats. They also provide hands-on technical assistance, perform configurations, and resolve technology related issues.


  • Knowledge of and skill in applying network standards, network management tools, and network equipment capabilities enough to conduct routine troubleshooting and maintenance
  • Knowledge of and skill in applying network protocols, principles and concepts, to assist in maintaining network services
  • Ability to assemble, correlate, and interpret basic technical data, and to analyze the implications, project trends, apply conclusions, and communicate such information orally and in writing
  • Demonstrated experience supervising teams, delegating authority, and communicating basic work guidelines and assignments. Ability to establish a demobilization timeline and ensure proper closeout of facility leases and contracts
Glossary Section: Employment Cadres

Interagency Recovery Coordination

The Interagency Recovery Coordination (IRC) cadre effectively, efficiently, and equitably supports states, territories, tribal nations, and local governments to define and achieve their recovery outcomes.

We accomplish our mission by: engaging affected state, territory, tribal nation, and local stakeholders to help them communicate their needs, objectives, and priorities for recovery. Coordinating post-disaster recovery resources to support restoration, rebuilding, and revitalization across all sectors of impacted states, territories, tribal nations, and localities. Identifying resources that support unmet recovery needs and objectives; assist communities in navigating and sequencing interagency programs; and provide technical assistance to ensure equitable access to recovery resources. And providing planning and data analysis assistance to states, territories, tribal nations, and local communities to support risk-informed strategic decision-making.


  • Background in housing, economics, public health, engineering, natural resources, or history
  • Geospatial GIS, project management, or basic financial analysis (benefit/cost analysis)
  • Mid- to senior-level experience with philanthropies, NGOs, and non-profits
  • Technical writing, editing or graphic design skills
  • Background in higher education
  • Local or State government experience
  • Urban and city planning
Glossary Section: Employment Cadres

Indian Tribes

Indian tribes, authorized tribal organizations, Alaska Native villages or authorized native organizations, which have land use authority, are considered communities by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can join the program even if no flood hazard map exists that covers all tribal lands.

Glossary Section: NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program

Interagency Agreement (IAA)

A written agreement entered into between two Federal agencies, or major organizational units within an agency, which specifies the goods to be furnished or tasks to be accomplished by one agency (the servicing agency) in support of the other (the requesting agency).

Glossary Section: Continuity