Template Field Operations Guide



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OPERATIONS


  1. Reunification Operations

Reunification operations are scalable in response to different types and sizes of incidents. A response to a small-scale event, where the number of casualties does not overwhelm local responders and/or consists of a closed population, will differ from the response to a mass casualty event that occurs at a sporting event or shopping center.

Immediately following an event the reunification process will begin on its own. Depending on the size of the incident and number of affected persons there may be a need to relocate the survivors to a central location where they can be reunified with their friends and family. In addition, there will also be staff at the reunification center whose responsibility it will be to work with local hospitals to track any survivors that were transported from the incident scene to receive medical care.

Upon arriving at the Survivors or Friends and Relatives Center, survivors will go through a registration process and then be directed to a waiting area where they will have access to medical care, behavioral health resources, and other forms of support.

When family members and friends arrive seeking information they will also go through registration and then directed to a separate waiting area. The Accountability Group staff will then try to determine if the person they are looking for is on site, in a hospital, or whereabouts unknown.

The general public will not be allowed into the Survivor Center or Friends and Relatives Center unless they are searching for a person or information on someone. Media personnel will not be allowed into the site. Police officers will be stationed at the entrances of the building to ensure that problematic individuals and/or media do not enter the reunification center.

Ushers will be at fixed positions in order to help people find their way in the building. They are not meant to serve as “personal escorts” throughout the process. Security staff will also remain at fixed positions to ensure that staff and people using the center are safe.



  1. Identification

Identification is strongly recommended but will not be required in order for a person to enter the reunification center with the intent to search for a lost friend or family member.

  1. Minors

Parents or guardians who are looking for minors must go through the verification process. Verification must always be carried out. It involves checking that the person claiming the child is who they say they are, and that the child is going to his/her family, legal guardian or other appropriate adult.

  1. Minor Reunification Verification Form – Both the adult and child must complete separate Minor Reunification Verification forms. The child may complete the form with assistance from Reunification Group staff.

  2. Verification Process

Verification requires the following:

    1. completed Minor Reunification Verification forms ensuring information from child and adult matches

    2. photo identification from the adult

      1. if photo identification is not available, the adult may produce documentation indicating a relationship with the child e.g. photos

      2. if no documentation of any type is available, refer the child to Child Protection Services or Law Enforcement

    3. photo or photocopy taken of the adult’s identification or other documentation

    4. photo taken of the adult and child together with name on placard in the picture

    5. all documents attached to the verification forms

Additional verification may include:

  1. checking with the child

  2. observing the child’s reaction to reunification

  3. asking the child if he/she feels safe leaving with this person

  1. Child Protection Services

Custody of the minor will be given to Child Protection Services or Law Enforcement if:

  1. the child is too young or unable to participate in the registration process

  2. the child has indicated that he/she does not want to leave with the adult requesting reunification or does not feel safe leaving with this person

  3. the parent/guardian is deceased or incapacitated

  1. Resources

  1. Child Protection Services: __________________________________________________

  2. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: missingkids.com; 24 Hour Hotline – 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) TTY: 800-826-7653

  3. Other Contacts or Community Partners: _______________________________________

  1. Reunification Completion Checklist

The Reunification Completion Checklist will be filled out by the staff member assisting in the reunification process to ensure that all necessary forms/documentation have been completed.

  1. Considerations

Cultural and religious beliefs as well as food allergies need to be considered when serving food.

If animals are present on site, e.g. therapy dogs, cultural and religious beliefs as well as pet allergies need to be addressed.

See the Cultural and Religious Considerations and Cultural and Religion Overviews documents in the Attachments section.


  1. Environmental Health

The Safety Officer will:

    1. identify hazardous situations associated with the incident;

    2. take steps to report and remediate the situation;

    3. ensure that adequate levels of protective equipment are available, and are being used as needed; and

    4. ensure adequate sanitation and safety in food preparation and service.

  1. General Flow

The following graphic addresses the general flow through some of the different stations/functions that will be available during a mass fatality or casualty incident. Reunification is just one piece of the overall process.
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