In the NIMS Alert from 12/06 (http://www.fema.gov/txt/emergency/nims/plain_lang.txt) the following is stated:
"It is important that responders and incident managers use common terminology. There simply is little or no room for misunderstanding in an emergency situation.
The use of plain language in emergency response is matter of public safety, especially the safety of first responders and those affected by the incident. It is critical that all local responders, as well as those coming into the impacted area from other jurisdictions and other states as well as the federal government, know and utilize commonly established operational structures, terminology, policies and procedures."
So much is placed on "10-codes" in the plain language discussion, however FEMA produces their own 78 page document (FEMA P-524) called the FEMA Acronyms Abbreviations and Terms (FAAT) guide, and they even have an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is FEMA spending time "promoting plain language" yet at the exact same time documenting and promoting more than 6,200 acronyms - nearly 1 acronym per FEMA employee?
If plain language is a part of the answer, then we need to find a way not to create more acronyms, but to reduce the number we're dealing with. Which ones are really obselete or irrelevant? We're not talking about changing a few entries in FAAT, but really tackling the core issues behind the need to create acronyms to describe items that could be described instead with plain language.