Provide a safe, protected, and supportive environment for families to gather while awaiting information on their missing, unaccounted for, or deceased loved ones (family and friends) following a disaster.
Initiation of a Family Assistance Center
The decision to activate NAME OF AGENCY to coordinate an FAC will come from the Emergency Operations Center or Incident Command Post.
NAME OF AGENCY Responsibilities
Staffing for site management positions.
Coordinate with local and regional partners to provide support services for survivors and their families and friends.
Provide coordination with Incident Command and the Medical Examiner.
Coordinate personnel resources to staff non-leadership positions. (See NAME OF AGENCY’s EOP – Workforce Annex for call up and options for recruitment.)
Assure behavioral health services and support are available for both community members and staff.
Family Assistance Center Functions
The main operational functions of an FAC are:
overall management of the center;
disaster behavioral health support; and
to support the medical examiner’s operations.
Other functions of a family assistance center may include but are not limited to the following:
Web Search/Lead Investigation Center (if the mass fatality involves large numbers of missing persons)
A wide range of additional services that are based on the incident. These may include: lodging, clothing, transportation, financial assistance, financial services, legal services, crime victims services, etc.
A wide array of agencies, organizations, and volunteers that work collaboratively under the direction of the health department, for example:
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 an FAC and/or reunification operations. The EOC has access to the same procedure and would activate NAME OF AGENCY the same way.
private rooms available for services such as counseling, meditation, or notification, and;
space for partner or participating agencies to set up as needed.
A security assessment of the FAC 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:
Inside the Site
Ensure safety and security of the facility.
Walk through the entire facility to ensure the facility is safe.
Secure all doors.
Limit points of entry to the facility.
Designate one entrance and a separate exit.
Post security personnel at entrance, exit and other vital locations.
Outside the Site
Secure perimeter and parking facilities.
Ensure media and the general public are 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.
Appraise incident command or the branch director of any issues related to securing the site and ensuring safe passage for family members.