Presentation on theme: "Mass Casualty and Emergency Response: Do you know the Code?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Mass Casualty and Emergency Response: Do you know the Code? Melissa Roberson, DCJS Critical Incident Response CoordinatorMary Vail Ware, MSWDirector, CICF
2 ContextSince 2001, Virginia has been challenged with the Pentagon Attack, Appalachian School of Law Shooting, Sniper Attacks, Anthrax Attacks, Virginia Tech shootings, etc.Nationally, there have been 179 school shooting incidents in the 13 years between Columbine (4/99) and Sandy Hook (12/2012).
3 The Code….The plan shall include a provision that the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Virginia Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund shall be contacted immediately to deploy assistance in the event of an emergency as defined in the emergency response plan when there are victims as defined in § The Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund shall be the lead coordinating agencies for those individuals determined to be victims, and the plan shall also contain current contact information for both agencies.
4 Why plan for a Family Assistance Center (FAC)? Family members of individuals at the event location will begin to flock to the sceneWell meaning (and not so well meaning) individuals will go to sceneConvergence of people can impact investigation, perhaps endanger othersNeed a place to verify who belongs, and to provide services and informationManage interaction between victims, responders, and press
5 When might you want to have an FAC? Small incidents or large—make it scalableWhenever more than one family group is impacted by an incidentWhen press may be involvedWhen those impacted might need additional services from multiple providers-create “one stop” assistance
6 Establishing a Family Assistance Center LocationPressSecurityCheck-In processStaff credentialsEOCSpontaneous volunteers and donationsAgencies Involved
7 Agencies Involved at Virginia Tech FAC Virginia Department of Social Services (ESF 6)Virginia Department of Criminal Justice ServicesVirginia Department of Emergency ManagementVirginia CICFAmerican Red CrossMental Health AgenciesChaplains/MinistersRep from Funeral Director’s AssociationRep from Medical Examiner’s OfficeMassage TherapistsTherapy DogsUniversity StaffLaw EnforcementVictim/Witness StaffMedical/Rescue Squad
8 What does family assistance provide? For FamiliesInformationConsistencyWay to manage expectationsPlace/people to get answersSafety (from public andmedia)Move through grief processReduces stress/anxietyFor Industry/Government“The right thing to do”Humanitarian/ethicalProvide consistent messageManage expectations forpublicPublic imageSource NTSB
9 What doesn’t family assistance provide? “Closure”– Step in the grief/recovery process– “Resiliency”All the answers– Factual information when available/allowable– Information on process when no factual information availableSupport for all needsElimination of legal actionsSource NTSB
10 Family Assistance Family Member Concerns Short TermWhere is my loved one?Where are their belongings?Who is in charge?Where will I get information?Can I visit the accident site?How did this happen?Provision of services– Where do I get…?Long termHow/where will I get information?What happens next?How can I prevent this from happening again?Memorial and anniversariesProvision of services– Where do I get…?Source NTSB
11 Best PracticesPre-designate team and required training for membersEnsure that all on site are “credentialed” in some way, assign someone to this taskImmediate response defines the event for victims & publicPrepare for press—shield familiesRely on experts in the field-victims taking care of victims is not a good model, crime or noEnsure that assistance efforts have clear leadership with decision making authorityPlan consistent communication opportunities
12 Best Practices Avoid the term “reunification” Hold daily meetings of responders to debrief and find solutionsPolicy around social media communicationImmediately prepare for influx and money and donations—prepare a donation messageDo not resist the urge to do what’s “right”If you don’t know something or have something—ask! VOAD is a great resource.
13 Best PracticesIf crime victims do not have their needs met in the immediate aftermath of the event, they will seek to have them met in other waysIndividuals who are not experienced with victims of crime should not provide direct serviceFamilies should have a safe place to gather to receive services and informationIf possible, victims should be paired with a trained and experienced advocate in order to meet requirements of Virginia Code §Responses can be scalable, think of resources in the community that might help with a FAC, or just a gathering room.
14 Care for the Caregivers Plan and exercise aftermath of worst case scenarioFirst responders cannot provide ongoing service without reliefWorking in teams is criticalDebriefing and support services are not a luxury, they are a necessity“Taking care of our own” is never a good plan, wounded serving wounded is not constructive for either partyTake it easy on yourself and colleagues
15 Fund Facts Created by 1977 Virginia General Assembly Housed in the Virginia Workers Compensation CommissionPays out-of-pocket expenses for innocent victims of violent crimesAllowable expenses include: funeral costs, out of pocket medical bills, transportation, lost wages, moving expenses, etc.Funded by court fees, restitution, and VOCA
16 CICF Role in Mass Casualty Crime Incidents Respond to Family Assistance CenterProvide financial assistance to victims and families for medical bills, funeral expenses, etc.Coordinate with other funding agencies to ensure resources are maximizedUtilize local victim witness assistance programs to work with familiesProvide technical assistance and support to institutional victim
17 DCJS – Victims Services Provides funding to support 114 victim/witness programs throughout VirginiaCoordinates and deploys Virginia’s Victim Assistance Team, consisting of 165 individuals that have received basic training of which 23 have also received advanced training from NOVA, to assist localities after mass casualty criminal incidents training,Conducts crisis response team training and maintains database of credentialed respondersReport a Campus or Local Emergency (per Code Sections :9 and ) Call or ; or
18 DCJS Role in Mass Casualty Incidents Coordinate victim advocate responseRespond to Family Assistance Center (ESF6)Ensure victims and family members are aware of the FAC and services available to themAssign victim advocates to assist victims/family members
19 Local Victim/Witness Programs What are they?Where are they located?Routine services provided by programs
21 Routine Services Provided by Local Victim/Witness Programs Case StatusRestitutionProtectionDispositionsCompensation AssistanceEmergency AssistanceVictim Impact StatementsCrisis InterventionIntercessionCJS ExplanationShort Term CounselingCourtroom ToursAccompaniment to CJ Meetings and Court Hearings
22 Victim Advocates Role in a Mass Tragedy Types of services providedLocal advocates and statewide supportComp Staff and Victim Advocates working together“Companioning”What worked well in past events
23 Local Victim Advocates Can quickly access community resourcesInterface with local agenciesCut through “red tape”Expedite delivery of services to victimsMedical Care and HIPPA
24 Incorporating Victim Advocates in Crisis Plans Establish relationshipsUnderstand each others rolesTraining and ExercisesCommonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan – Family Assistance Center Policy
25 Final ThoughtsIdentify your non-traditional resources (victim advocates, child day care centers, restaurants)Think about possible gathering placesPlan ahead, make a scalable FAC part of your response to any disasterInclude the creation of an FAC in your exercisesDetermine how you might plan to offer continuing support to both the community and responders after the advent of a “worst-case-scenario”
26 Contact InformationMary Vail WareDirectorCriminal Injuries Compensation FundP. O. Box 26927, Richmond, VA 23261orMelissa RobersonCritical Incident Response CoordinatorVirginia Department of Criminal Justice Services1100 Bank Street, Richmond, VAor