Regional mass fatality management in pandemic surge
Stanley, Sharon A. R.
Supinski, Stanley B.
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National and state planning documents designate public health as the lead for mass fatality management (MFM). MFM planning, however, demands multiagency participation and full public-business-government leverage. This thesis explores pathways to reach operational regional MFM capability in Ohio, but also has implications for MFM planning across the nation. Survey research was conducted with three key MFM stakeholder groups: county coroners, emergency management directors, and health commissioners. The survey addressed realistic and actionable MFM planning by: 1) identifying state guidance gaps; 2) identifying local/regional operational gaps; 3) assessing regional resource capabilities; 4) categorizing proposed solutions to address identified gaps; and 5) listing legal, financial, and organizational barriers to the solutions. Findings show that the key stakeholder communities are confused, with a willingness to build MFM capacity that is accompanied by worries about who should lead and how to coordinate efforts. Research recommendations include a three-sector collaboration (government-business-citizens) operating at the regional level and public engagement. Another recommendation calls for alignment of state guidance and regional operations with The Joint Task Force Civil Support Working Group MFM areas: command and control; body identification; medico-legal investigation; morgue operations; funeral services; final disposition; and family assistance and behavioral health services.
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