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European Definitions

Other International Definitions

A sudden and usually unforeseen event that calls for immediate measures to minimize its adverse consequences.[1]

National Definitions


An emergency is an event, actual or imminent, which endangers or threatens to endanger life, property or the environment, and which requires a significant and coordinated response.[2]

An emergency is the threatened or actual impact of a hazard, natural or otherwise, which endangers the environment, property or the safety or health of persons or animals, and requires a coordinated response. [3]

New Zealand

An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to life, health, property, or the environment that requires a coordinated response.[4]

United States

An emergency is any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property, public health, and safety, and includes emergencies other than natural disasters.[5]
An emergency is any incident, whether natural or manmade, that requires responsive action to protect life or property[6].

Standard Definition

ISO/PAS 22399:2007

Sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or event requiring immediate action [7].

See also