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Disaster recovery and restoration can be veiled in mystery to the many who have not undertaken specific training. This glossary explains technical terms to assist both report writing and the understanding of those technical terms so often misunderstood.


The Disaster Advice Glossary and its contents are the protected copyright of Disaster Advice

National Flood Insurance Program NFIP

The federal program created by an act of Congress in 1968 that makes flood insurance available in communities that enact satisfactory floodplain management regulations. This program is administered by FEMA.


Natural Attenuation

The natural attenuation reduction in concentrations of chemicals and/or biological agents in an environment. Agents which are allowed to degrade and decompose naturally as the physical chemical and biological decay and decomposition processes proceed. Typically the term natural attenuation applies to soil remediation and occasionally it may apply to a building environment.


Natural Ventilation

The movement of air into and out of a space through intentionally provided openings such as windows and doors through non-powered ventilators or by pressure changes and infiltration.


NCCA National Carpet Cleaners Association

The NCCA is a British carpet and upholstery cleaners and water damage remediation organization that operates on behalf of its membership throughout the UK.


Negative Air Machine

A machine with a fan or blower typically with HEPA and carbon filters which is able to negatively pressurize a room or area for a continuous period of time.


Negative Air Pressure during Fungal Abatement

Negative air pressure is a differential in air pressure between the containment-unit and the surrounding space to prevent cross-contamination and fungal contamination from leaving the containment-unit abatement area. An air filtration device such as a HEPA filtered negative air machine must be used to negatively pressurize the work area.


Negligible Residues

The amount of residues of pesticides or other agents that are considered to be acceptable on plants foods and buildings. Education Note In water damaged buildings negligible residue can mean the remaining microflora that are considered acceptable after clean-up and building material drying prior to building occupancy.



Roundworms hookworms pinworms and whipworms are parasites and are pathogenic to humans and animals. Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water are some of the contributors to the disease. Other contributing health factors are hand-to-mouth contact with soil feces and contaminated water. See Ringworms



Toxins from some bacteria and fungi that can be neurologically damaging to humans resulting in nerve tissue damage. Neurotoxins may cause other long-term health damage. See Aflatoxins Mycotoxins Endotoxins Toxins


Neutral Cleaner

A mild detergent having a pH of 6 to 8 that does not contain any strong alkali materials and is designed to remove soil or spills.



The change of an acid or alkaline substance to a neutral pH of 7.0. The elimination of an odor or irritant substance. c The ability to convert a substance into another chemical substance or state.


NIDR Guidelines for Fire and Smoke Damage Repair

the National Institute of Disaster Restoration NIDR a division of The Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration ASCR International. The NIDR guidelines for managing fire and smoke damage repair was first printed in October 1997 Edition. The NIDR guidelines incorporate the history of fire damage claims management categories of restoration to recommended restorative practices. For reprints of the NIDR guidelines contact ASCR International. See ASCR


Noise Protection

The appropriate protection to be worn by employees for excess noise above 85 dba @ 8 hours TWA. 29 CFR 1910.95


Noise Reduction NR

The difference between the average sound pressure levels of two spaces. Usually these two spaces are two adjacent rooms called respectively the source room and the receiving room.


Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids NAPL

Chemicals that are only slightly soluble in water that exist as a separate liquid phase in environmental media. They can be less dense or more dense than water.


Non-Bearing Wall

A non-supporting wall that has no weight bearing capabilities other than to itself.



The description of organic compounds usually synthetic that are not decomposed or mineralized by microorganisms.


Non-Biological Particles

Most often referred to as dusts and dirt and the natural deterioration of certain building materials. Yet these materials can carry with them biological elements. See Biological Particles Respirable Particles



Building materials and contents which have a particular fire rating as being non-combustible when in the presence of a flame. Mitigation Note Some non-combustible fire rated building materials are highly porous and they may absorb water easily and some materials are susceptible to mold and decay. One of these materials include fire-retardant plywood FRT a construction material used as roof sheathing and it is subject to premature deterioration because of its hygroscopic qualities.


Non-Conventional Pollutants

As outlined in the Clean Water Act water pollutants not listed as conventional pollutants or thermal discharges. These pollutants include ammonia chloride iron colour and total phenols.



Those organisms that are dead or decaying and are not reproducible by attempting to grow them in a nutrient media in a laboratory. Non-culturable organisms are dead cells cell parts and hyphae which when stained and inspected under a microscope they can often be identified as to their genus or assumptions can be made about their classification. See Culturable Non-Viable Viable



Materials atmospheres and environments which have been pre-determined to be safe under most conditions.


Non-Hazardous Work Environment

Those work environments that are under a standard level of care they do not pose any known physical harm and they provide for a safe and healthy work environment where PPE is not necessary or required. Those work environments which do not pose a direct or indirect risk or hazard to life or health.


Non-Payment of Insurance Claim Debt

Non-payment of insurance claim debt is by an insured who receives payment from an insurance carrier %u005Bor a loan as a construction loan%u005D for your services and the insured does not pay you for those services or situations where the insured cashes the draft or check with the intent of using the money for other purposes. They are in violation of most state penal laws. Legal Note In California for example section 484 of the California Penal Code says ...any person who receives money for the purpose of obtaining or paying for services labor materials or equipment and willfully fails to apply such money for such purpose by either willfully failing to complete the improvements for which funds were provided or willfully failing to pay for services labour materials or equipment provided incident to such construction and wrongfully diverts the funds to a use other than that for which the funds were received shall be guilty of a public offense and punishable by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars 10000 or by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding five years or in the county jail not exceeding one year or by both such fine and such imprisonment if the amount diverted in excess of one thousand dollars %u00241000. If the amount diverted is less than one thousand dollars %u00241000 the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition California Penal Code 484 says any person who submits to a false voucher to obtain construction loan funds and does not use the funds for the purpose for which the claim was submitted is guilty of embezzlement.


Non-Permit Required Confine Space

A work space or entry which meets the confined space requirements and a space that does not have the potential to contain any hazard capable of causing death or serious physical harm. As far as atmospheric hazards are concerned a space that does not have atmospheric influences including the lack of breathable oxygen. Health and Mitigation Note Rooms buildings and substructures containing sewage harbor potential surface and airborne bacteria and viruses fungi contamination harbors surface and airborne mycotoxins and areas containing chemicals harbouring flammable explosives and toxics are all confined work spaces bordering on permit required confined space. See Confined Space Permit Required Confined Space


Non-Persistant Pollutant

A chemical or substance that can cause damage to organisms such as sewage bacteria in soil or attached ground when added in excessive amounts to counteract the bacteria presence. The chemical or substance is allowed to degrade naturally through decay and bioaugmentation in situ and they do not pose a health concern to the ground ground water or human populations. Some chemical substances considered may include detergents and commercial peroxides.


Non-Resident Organisms

Foreign organisms such as sewage bacteria coliforms and mold growth in buildings. Non-resident organisms especially pathogenic coliform bacteria do not belong in a clean healthy building. See Biotic Factor Resident Organisms



Dead or non-reproductive or reproducible cells and spores. See Non-Culturable



Diseases or infections that are hospital caused or contracted.


Nuisance Dusts

Dusts which are not expected to cause adverse health effects on the lungs and they are not expected to produce significant biologic organic diseases or toxic affects when exposure levels are kept under control. Nuisance dusts are irritants and they are responsible for cause from allergic-like dust responses in some persons.



Any substance which an organism obtains from its environment an energy source.


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