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n. a sudden, unforeseen happening which requires action to correct or to protect lives and/or property.
1 in the law relating to civil defence or civil contingencies, an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom, an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of a place in the United Kingdom, or war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom. An event or situation threatens damage to human welfare only if it involves, causes or may cause loss of human life, human illness or injury, homelessness, damage to property, disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel, disruption of a system of communication, disruption of facilities for transport, or disruption of services relating to health. An event or situation threatens damage to the environment only if it involves, causes or may cause contamination of land, water or air with biological, chemical or radioactive matter, or disruption or destruction of plant life or animal life.
2 in the law relating to fire and rescue, an event or situation that causes or is likely to cause one or more individuals to die, be seriously injured or become seriously ill, or serious harm to the environment (including the life and health of plants and animals).