Aim: To deliver an argumentation for supporting the view that danger and crisis are vital factors shaping one’s living conditions.

Methodology: Thorough examination of Polish and international literature in the field of theory of safety.

Results: Nowadays, every person is delivered a huge amount of information concerning the terrorism, sabotage, crime, epidemics of incurable diseases, extreme weather events, environmental disasters and, recently, armed conflicts, etc. Therefore, it has become a frequent event that one may lose a sense of identity, cope with the demands of mass education, having a sense of an information overload. Hence, although this situation does not lead to capitulation, there often arises a sense of helplessness among such persons. ‘Security’ and ‘risk’, ‘crisis’ and ‘critical situation’ are concepts being frequent subjects of media information. They in many instances refer to such entities as human being, social organization or its specific form - society. It is a truism to say that the most advantageous mean to avoid the negative consequences is an attempt to prevent their occurrence. In case of emergency, crises or critical situation, this principle seems to be completely confirmed. Responding to emergencies and crises is currently an area of a thorough examination conducted by representatives of scientific disciplines. As a result, there have been created valuable scientific and popular-scientific works concerning mainly: the organization of crisis management, the characteristics of the potential that could be deployed in the same management, interoperability, and the relationships between the elements of a crisis management system. Abovementioned representatives of science pursue their studies independently and together with those who measure daily problems of crisis management at different scales. Contemporary challenges and threats clearly indicate the growing role of knowledge in the field of preventing, minimizing and eliminating the consequences of their possible occurrence. It is possible by, inter alia, having a knowledge on this subject.

Conclusions: The omnipresence of threats in the field of state security indicates the need to build systems which essence is to prevent such events, and minimize the consequences of their possible occurrence. The situation presented in the article provided the authors with a chance to present their opinions and indicate significant problems. The article provides an overview of the most important definitions and research in the theory of security. Its purpose is to familiarize the reader with the tradition of security research and all its contexts. Mainly in the definition of terms such as ‘security’, ‘crisis’ and ‘critical situation’. In the course of the presented considerations, the authors identified the relationship between these phenomena and explained their scope and nature.

Keywords: crisis, critical situation, emergency, threat, society, process, safety

Type of article: review article