Template Field Operations Guide

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  1. Site Activation

There are processes already in place that can be used by Dispatch if/when Incident Command determines there is a need for NAME OF AGENCY to coordinate reunification operations. The EOC has access to the same procedures and would activate NAME OF AGENCY the same way.

  1. Initial Setup

The first areas to set up for reunification operations support are:

  1. Command Area – necessary for coordination operations.

  2. Family/friends Check-in Area – for the family/friends of those involved in the incident.

  3. Survivor Check-in Area – for the registration of survivors.

  4. Staff Check-In Area – to allow for the documenting and tracking of initial reporting staff as well as all subsequently reporting staff.

  5. Waiting Area (minors) – a supervised and restricted-access area for minors to wait to be reunified with a parent, guardian, or family member.

  6. Waiting Area (adults) – a restricted area for adult survivors to wait to be reunified with friends or family.

  7. Waiting Area (friends & family) – a separate area following registration where family members and friends can gather to wait for information.

  8. Release Area – a separate space used to reunite survivors with friends and/or family.

The Logistics Section of Incident Command will provide workers that will facilitate and complete the set up process. Security of the site should begin at this point as well. Local law enforcement is responsible for the security of reunification operations. Only those who are authorized to access the site at this time should be allowed in. This security must be maintained throughout the operations of the site.

  1. Security Assessment

A security assessment of the site must be made prior to starting operations. Law Enforcement is responsible for this assessment, unless they have delegated the task to another qualified entity. The following list is a general outline of the basic security assessment that should be performed:

  1. Inside the Site

  1. Ensure safety and security of the facility.

  2. Walk through the entire facility to ensure the facility is safe.

  3. Secure all doors.

  4. Limit points of entry to the facility.

  5. Designate one entrance and a separate exit.

  6. Post security personnel at entrance, exit and other vital locations.

  1. Outside the Site

  1. Secure perimeter and parking facilities.

  2. Ensure media and the general public is kept away from the entrance and exit. Develop awareness where media will be permitted by law on public spaces such as sidewalks or park land.

  3. Appraise incident command or the branch director of any issues related to securing the site and ensuring safe passage for family members.

  1. Security Guidelines

  1. Security personnel at each location will be clearly identified (such as wearing a law enforcement uniform) and visibly positioned in strategic locations in the facility.

  2. Security will maintain a presence at the FAC daily from open to close for the duration of the FAC operation.

  3. Security will secure the facility at the end of each day.


Filling and scheduling staffing roles for Reunification operations is the responsibility of the Logistics Section at IC/UC. Site leadership should not be concerned with locating workers and filling roles at the site.

Staff will be informed of when and where to report. Depending on the situation, staff may initially report directly to the site for staging or may report to an offsite staging area.

In staging staff will receive a Job Information Packet that will contain information on their role, policies and procedures to follow while working at the reunification site, and any other information deemed necessary. Additional equipment, including radios, identification vests and other equipment necessary to effectively staff individual roles will be provided in staging.

In situations where offsite staging is in use, certain equipment may be provided to staff at the staging area while other equipment will be made available once staff arrives at the reunification site.

  1. Staff Identification

All personnel working at a reunification site are required to wear a site-specific access badge along with their daily work ID card. This applies to all personnel from any agency or jurisdiction. Some staff will also be required to wear an incident command vest.

  1. Staff Credentialing

Credentialing is the process of assessing and confirming the licensing and qualifications of a staff member or volunteer and will include license and/or certification verification. When requesting workforce from external agencies, the requesting agency should specify resource type indicating license or certification needs, as applicable. The sending agency should only deploy staff of the appropriate resource type requested. For example, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) currently verifies licensure and certification for Minnesota Responds and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers. Credentialing also may refer to an event-specific process, which requires on-site authorization and identification in order to enter an incident area.

  1. Badging System

In the event that the disaster requires the NAME OF AGENCY to develop and implement just-in-time identification badge, suggested information to be on the badge includes:

  1. Badge type

  2. Event date and shift (time)

  3. Training level

  4. Creation date

  5. Name

  6. Badge number

  7. Title

  8. Photo

  9. Employer/organization

  10. Access level

If possible, these badge types should contain a color-coded background, as well as a color-coded strip to identify date of authorized access. Signage will be posted at appropriate locations and security officers guarding the perimeter will advise incoming persons of the requirement to report to the badging area.

  1. Shift Change Procedures

Staff reporting to work at the reunification site will be informed of their position, shift times and reporting location prior to arriving at the site.

When arriving and departing, all staff must check in and sign the check-in log (ICS 211).

Individuals reporting for duty will be briefed thirty minutes prior to their shift change by the Group/Division Supervisor or his/her designee. Subsequent to this briefing, staff will receive their job aids and don their identifying vest (if applicable).

The out-going shift will remove vests and turn in their site-specific access badge. The out-going shift will then assemble for debriefing by the Group/Division Supervisor or his/her designee. A Unit Log Book outlining activities during the operational period will be completed by a Planning Section representative and turned in to the Planning Section at IC/UC.

  1. Staff Briefings

A briefing is a structured opportunity to provide information to your staff concerning what is likely to happen during a shift. Briefings should be held on a regular basis which may be at the beginning and end of a shift and at any other time they are deemed necessary. Staff briefing schedule should be established at the beginning of the operational period by the Assistance Center Site Manager, and the schedule posted in an area where all staff can view it. Briefings are generally short, well focused, and designed to bring all staff to the same general level of knowledge. At a minimum, the following is recommended.

  1. An “all Assistance Center staff” meeting once per operational period.

  2. Two command staff meetings, one near the beginning and one near the end of each operation period. These briefings are not included in the operational planning process.

  3. Section and unit meetings at the discretion of the Section Lead/Unit Leader.

  4. Demobilization meeting.

Be sure that briefings are held in an appropriate location so all participants can hear and see the presenter and allow time for and encourage questions during the briefing. If you are presented with questions you cannot answer, defer up the chain of command for resolution.

Information for the staff briefing could include:

  • Confidentiality for family members

  • Don’t take pictures of friends and family

  • Don’t share information with the media unless you’re the site manager or PIO

  • Concerns for physical or psychological harm

  • Communication with supervisor

  • Information about breaks and sustenance

  • End of shift procedures, including debriefing

  • Security procedures

  • Requests for specific assistance (support animals, clergy, etc.)

  • Operational and information security

Refer to the Command Briefing Agenda and Operational Briefing Checklist documents in the Attachments section.

  1. Unaffiliated Volunteers

In the event of a disaster, it is likely citizens may come forward to offer assistance during and immediately following the event. An unaffiliated, or spontaneous, volunteer is anyone who offers perceived skill by coming forward to help during a major incident but who does not affiliate with a known community agency and has not been entered into any responder database system.

Organizations including VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) and MRC and others actively recruit, train, credential and provide identification badges for volunteers. It is recommended that the NAME OF AGENCY have available a trained and credentialed volunteer workforce who could be called upon, if needed. Unaffiliated volunteers may be referred to volunteer organizations for future response efforts.

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