A plan of action in the event of a mass fatality has been added to the Fayette County All-Hazard Emergency Operation Plan.
This plan outlines the steps that must be taken to handle a potential tragedy “with the utmost dignity,” according to Melissa Havens, director of the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). The plan is meant to provide instructions for any potential mass fatality event, such as a tornado, bus or plane crash, or mass shooting.
The plan was developed with the use of funding from Homeland Security. It was written by a contractor from AEM Consulting, and revised and approved by representatives from a number of local entities, including: the Coroner’s Office, EMS, Fayette County Memorial Hospital, the Fire Department, and the Health Department. Local funeral directors were also involved in the creation of the plan.
The plan was developed in conjunction with 15 other counties that are in Fayette County’s Homeland Security Region. The region developed a regional plan, and each county was expected to develop or update their own plan as well.
According to Havens, the plan “addresses the response to [a mass fatality] event and also addresses the need for a family assistance center and victim identification center.” She said the plan also “breaks down how we will run a scene.”
The command structure for such an event would be what is known as Unified Command: the leaders of various entities work together to make decisions. The coroner, however, would ultimately be responsible. Havens said the plan also addresses the potential “need for other folks to be brought into the picture at the state level and the federal level.”
On July 2, the county commissioners issued a resolution to officially add the plan to the Emergency Operation Plan. Copies of the plan are available to the public. Requests for a copy may be made through the EMA office.