Mass Fatalities Training

There are several courses and one exercise included in the Mass Fatality Series:

1. Mass Fatality 101

This 4-hour course introduces the fundamentals of mass fatality management to first responders, healthcare providers, and jurisdictional agencies who require an overview of the mass fatality management process. Mass Fatality 101 covers the basics of body recovery, the forensics and identification process, and the facilitation of family assistance centers. Elements of this course include:

  • Mass fatality incident basics – medico-legal authority, role of elected officials, coordination with medical examiners, incident command, legal considerations
  • Field and site recovery – search and recovery, coordination with authorities, types of searches and techniques, handling of remains and personal effects, processing and documentation, temporary storage, transportation
  • Disaster morgue services – morgue operations, victim identification process, team roles and responsibilities, cultural considerations
  • Family assistance centers (FACs)– management of FACs, obtaining antecedent information, family support services

2. Mass Fatality Management for First Responders

This 8-hour course is designed to teach first responders about the mass fatality process and their role in body recovery, identification, and resolution. The course includes an in-depth examination of:

  • Authorities and planning for mass fatality incidents – jurisdictional authorities, coordination of efforts, planning considerations
  • Field and site recovery – search and recovery, mapping, types of search and techniques, handling remains and personal effects, processing and documentation, temporary storage, decontamination
  • Disaster morgue services – layout and equipment, staffing, documentation, operations, support services, victim identification process and systems, cultural considerations, stress management
  • Managing family assistance centers – FAC operations, antecedent information, documentation, family support services

3. Mass Fataility Management for Elected Officials

This 4-hour course is an introduction to the principles of mass fatality management directed toward elected officials. Not all jurisdictions have medical examiners or coroners so the medico-legal authority often rests with the local elected official. Even with a medical examiner/coroner involved, the elected officials need to understand their roles and responsibilities in a mass fatality event. Elements of this course include:

  • Basics of emergency management principles and the incident command system
  • Lines of authority/command and control
  • Legal requirements within the local jurisdiction
  • Roles and responsibilities of the elected official
  • Coordination and the collaborative process with multiple agencies
  • Public engagement and dealing with the media
  • Family assistance centers
  • Community recovery after a mass fatality event

4. Managing Family Assistance Centers (FAC) and Call Centers

This 4-hour course guides jurisdictions through setting up and managing family assistance centers and call centers during a mass fatality event. Topics cover the full spectrum of potential services offered at a FAC including:

  • Facility selection considerations
  • Facility set up and layout
  • Family briefings and communication
  • Ante-mortem collection and the VIP system
  • Call center management
  • Crisis counseling and grief management
  • Support agency coordination
  • Coordination with hospital family reception centers and information exchange
  • Memorials and site visits
  • Political issues/media management
  • Finances

5. Search and Recovery Mass Fatality Exercise

The Search and Recovery Mass Fatality Exercise is a full-scale HSEEP compliant exercise designed to establish a learning environment for players to exercise emergency response plans, policies, and procedures as they pertain to mass fatality events. This exercise provides an opportunity for collaborative practice between community authorities, first responders, and local jurisdictions in the process of body recovery in the field and victim identification during a mass fatality event. Optional injects may include the establishment of a family assistance center.