Template Field Operations Guide

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  1. Voice Communications Procedures

Any NAME OF AGENCY operation will utilize handheld 800 MHz radios, cell phones, and other types of communication devices. Insert AGENCY’s tactical communications plan.

  1. Important Numbers List

See the NAME OF DOCUMENT for department and county contact lists and mutual aid request information.


See NAME OF AGENCY’s EOP – Risk Communications Annex.

No media of any kind will be allowed access to the either the Survivor Center or Friends and Relatives Center. The incident or site Public Information Officer will handle all media inquiries and incidents.

  1. If a PIO is not on site, the Branch Director will be the designated spokesperson and may call the PIO for assistance and direction.

  2. If you are not the designated spokesperson, you should:

  1. resist the urge to become a self-appointed spokesperson.

  2. remain professional and focused on your assigned responsibilities.

  3. be friendly and briefly conversational but decline an interview by saying:

“I understand you’re interest in getting accurate and up-to-date information about what we’re doing here. That’s not my role. Let me direct you to our spokesperson or Public Information Officer.”

See the Media Frequently Asked Questions About Family Assistance Centers document in the Attachments section.


Protecting the life and safety of community members and responders is the first objective in an emergency response. Emergencies by definition have risk to the health of community members and may by virtue of the type of emergency pose a risk to the health of the emergency responders. A Hazard Assessment of the situation is critical to determine the risks to life, safety and health. Mitigation strategies to decrease the risk to both community members and emergency responders should be based on this assessment.

The Safety Walkthrough Checklist in the Forms section contains tools to assist with the Hazard Assessment of the reunification site, the determination of who is at risk for the hazard, and mitigation strategies to decrease risk to the responders and community members.

Insert AGENCY Incident Reporting System.

First Aid and Behavioral Health

  1. Injury and Illness

  1. Staff who are injured or become ill should tell their direct supervisor and, if needed, should be taken to the first aid room.

  2. Clients who become seriously injured or very ill should be taken to the first aid room.

  3. First aid staff should assess and assist the unwell person.

  4. If the unwell person needs additional medical attention, they should be directed to the nearest medical facility.

  5. All incidents should be documented by first aid staff and reported to the Branch Director.

  6. First aid staff should have staff complete (or their supervisor if the staff is too unwell) any necessary forms.

  7. If necessary, provide EMS transport.

  1. Behavioral Health

  1. Behavioral health counselors will be available at the reunification site to provide mental health assistance to visitors and staff.

  2. Behavioral health counselors should provide only minimal counseling at the reunification site.

  3. Quiet space should be available for persons needing behavioral intervention.

  4. All staff working at the center may receive JITT in Psychological First Aid. The goal will be to have all workers trained in PFA and some licensed BH staff. If the situation warrants it, NAME OF AGENCY will provide JITT.

Annex B: Family Assistance Center


Once survivors have been reunited with friends and relatives, a Family Assistance (FAC) may be set up specifically for the friends and relatives of those still missing and those who are deceased. An FAC allows them:

  1. to be separated from the rest of the community;

  2. to be provided support for their specific needs; and

  3. to meet with the medical examiner and law enforcement representatives.


Based on lessons learned from previous local, national, and international incidents, the following are a series of planning assumptions to consider:

  1. Incidents warranting the activation of an FAC may occur as a result of natural, human-caused, or technological sources.

  2. FAC operations may be long term.

  3. Responding to a mass-casualty or mass-fatality incident can be overwhelming and lead to traumatic stress. Support for responders and staff at an assistance center will be essential.

  4. Ethnic and cultural traditions must be considered at all FACs. See the Cultural and Religious Considerations and Cultures and Religion Overviews documents in the Attachments section.

  5. Both behavioral health and spiritual care resources need to be made available all FACs.

  6. Eight to ten family members or loved ones will arrive or need assistance for each potential victim.

  7. After an incident, family members will immediately call or self-report to many agencies or locations seeking information about their loved ones. This could include the incident site, 911, 211, 311, hospitals, clinics, fire departments, police stations, or the Medical Examiner’s Office.

  8. Not all family members will come to the FAC. Services need to be available virtually to support and provide information to those who are not physically on site at the FAC.

  9. Coordination among responding agencies about family member welfare inquiries, missing persons reports, and patient tracking will be necessary.

  10. The FAC should be operational, at least with basic services, within _______ hours after the event; and if there are known fatalities, within _______ hours.

  11. The Family Assistance Center may be needed to provide a place for families to convene until an FAC is established. This may occur at a hospital, airport, or other community site.

  12. The FAC may need to operate extended hours during the initial days or weeks after an incident.

  13. Family members will have high expectations regarding:

    1. the identification of the deceased;

    2. the return of their loved ones to them; and

    3. ongoing information and updates.

  14. Victim identification may take days, weeks or more depending on the nature of the incident.

  15. Families and individuals will not grieve or process information in the same way.

  16. Ethnic and cultural traditions will be important factors in how families grieve.

  17. Family members who live afar may travel to the FAC and need assistance with basic resources such as lodging, toiletries, clothes, prescriptions, etc.

  18. Family members that live locally may choose to stay overnight at the FAC, especially in the initial days after an incident.

  19. Family interviews will need to be conducted with multiple family members in order to collect sufficient ante mortem information to assist with victim identification.

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