Template Field Operations Guide

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  1. Family Registration/Check In/Check Out Protocols

        1. As families enter the facility, have greeters present to show them to the proper area to check in.

        2. All family members must sign in upon arrival.

        3. If this is the family member’s first visit to the FAC they must complete a registration form. See the Family/Friend Registration document in the Forms section.

        4. If someone arrives at the FAC and is not looking for a family member, notify security immediately. Site security is crucial to preserving privacy.

        5. Provide all family members with a Family Resource Packet if available.

        6. A family liaison should provide family members with a brief overview of the services provided at the FAC, a tour of the facility (if possible) and assist them with any immediate needs.

        7. Translators/interpreters should be on hand to provide assistance with the registration process if necessary. See the Interpreter and Translator Services document in the Attachments section.

        8. All family members must return their badge upon leaving the FAC and sign out on the Family/Friend Sign-In Sheet.

  1. Identification

        1. Family members are required to produce government issued photo identification upon entry to ensure the identity of all visitors.

        2. In the event that a family member does not have a government issued identification, (minor children, undocumented persons, identification unavailable, etc.) reception staff with the assistance of Law Enforcement, should take reasonable steps to ensure the identity of the individual.

        3. Security personnel should be available for assistance if necessary.

  1. Minors

All minors must be accompanied by an adult. If needed, child care should be available on site in a pediatric safe area. Child care areas must be supervised by properly screened and credentialed staff. See the Child Care section in the Forms chapter for additional guidance.

  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 Cultures and Religion Overviews documents in the Attachments chapter.

  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. Family Briefings

The purpose of the family briefings is to ensure that families have current and accurate information regarding the recovery process, identification of victims, the investigations and other areas of concern. Ensure that families receive information first from government agencies in a caring and supportive environment.

Facilitators of the Briefing must be selected in a very intentional manner and, whenever possible, be a consistent individual. The must have an overall understanding of FAC operations and a strong compassionate and command presence in front of large diverse groups who have been deeply traumatized. Ideally, they will have had training in conducting such briefings. [see X attachment for briefer training outline]

Family Briefings may not always be possible. It is still important to have a strategy for communicating with families.

  1. General Guidelines

  1. Always provide information to the families before releasing information to the media.

  2. Provide family briefings as soon as possible and maintain a regular schedule for briefings. The frequency of briefings may change over time depending on need.

  3. The Medical Examiner, or their designee, should be present at all briefings to report on victim identification processes and progress.

  4. Operations Section leadership should be present at all briefings to answer questions relating to their respective areas.

  5. Security should be present to ensure only appropriate people are allowed into the briefing room.

  1. Family Briefing Procedure

The Public Information Officer (PIO) or the Deputy PIO in coordination with the FAC Director and Medical Examiner schedules the time and location of the family briefings.

  1. Prepare the schedule for the family briefings.

  2. Post the schedule in the FAC and inform families where and when there are briefings.

  3. The logistics team will set up the family briefing room with chairs, conference call equipment, microphones, projectors and other audio/visual equipment as needed.

  4. Ensure that there are conference call capabilities for all families not physically at the FAC.

  5. The Behavioral Health team will ensure that there are behavioral health and spiritual care providers present at all family briefings.

  6. Translation and interpretation services should be coordinated as needed.

  7. Ensure there is an administrative assistance present to transcribe the briefings.

  8. The Medical Examiner or their designee will run the family briefings, with representation by the FAC Director and support agencies as necessary.

  • Emphasize that the FAC is the best source of current information for the families.

  • Present information in terms that the family members can understand.

  • Repeat important information frequently during the briefings to accommodate families at various levels of receptiveness in the grieving process.

  • Plan for a question and answer session that may take an hour.

  • Provide copies of transcripts or briefing notes.

  1. Family Briefing Agenda/talking points/scripts

The following represents suggested information that may be communicated to families or those seeking services (topics should be adjusted depending upon the nature of the incident and as needs change over the course of the event). See the Example Family Briefing Agenda in the Attachments section for more information

  1. Number of missing, positive identification and casualties

  2. Status of search, rescue, and recovery operation

  3. Status of criminal investigation

  4. Medical examiner information, notification, mortuary processes and procedures

  5. DNA, medical and dental records collection

  6. Process to issue death certificates

  7. Victims’ personal effects (process for return)

  8. Review of services available at the FAC

  9. Press and media contact and family privacy rights

  10. Resources for additional assistance

  11. Q & A

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