Mass Casualty Incidents
Now that we have demonstrated how to provide death notifications using the four step process, let’s discuss some special considerations. Are you prepared to provide multiple death notifications in the event of a mass casualty incident within your jurisdiction? Death notifications after a mass casualty incident can be complicated. Each family should have their own trained Death Notification Team.
The death notifications should be done in private and not in a public space. Friends and family members often converge on the scene after a mass casualty. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that an average of 3-6 family members for each missing victim may arrive on scene. Family Assistance Center’s (FACs) offer structure for families to receive information and resources.
It is important to explain to the Next of Kin how the scene is processed for forensic investigative purposes and to ensure accurate identification of the deceased. This may include a thorough explanation about the forensic identification and investigative process. Multiple jurisdictions can add complexity as there may be confusion about which agency has the lead in the investigation and victim identification. Effective communication between those jurisdictions is critical so the families are not caught in the middle.
Providing Multiple Death Notifications
- Each family should have their own Death Notification Team
- Provide notifications in private
- On scene-convergence
- Create realistic expectations for the Next of Kin
- Effective communication between jurisdictions