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Family Assistance Center Management and Support

These people provide the interface between survivors, family and friends of those directly impacted by the event and the various people, agencies, and businesses involved in the response. It is a crucial role, which greatly impacts the overall success or failure of any response.

Following the first responders, usually about 24-48 hours after an incident, Kenyon Special Assistance Team Members are deployed to work directly with survivors, family members and friends of those directly impacted by the event. These specially-trained and screened Kenyon Team Members are equipped to immediately work with people under great stress in a variety of cultural situations and geographical locations.

Kenyon Special Assistance Teams (SAT) are organized into four major sections:

  • Hospital Support Section – These SAT Members work with hospital staff, injured survivors and their families to make sure they receive the logistical support, information, and coordination offered to non-injured. They also provide assistance in the transition from a hospital location to a home setting, including support for changed mobility and care needs.

  • Family Assistance Center Support Sections – These SAT Members work with those survivors, family and friends who are located at the Family Assistance Center, coordinating attendance at briefings, collection of information, and arrangements for their return home.

  • Morgue Liaison Section – These SAT Members work with directly with Kenyon or government morgue administrative staff to ensure the timely and accurate collection of ante mortem records, as well as DNA reference sample collection. They also assist in coordinating the repatriation of deceased.

  • Non-travelling Family Member Support Section – These SAT Members work directly with those family and friends who did not or cannot travel to the Family Assistance Center.

  • Special Assistance Team Members are the personal face and voice of the response.

  • Their job is to help transition the survivors, families and friends through the aftermath of a horrible event. It is a practical as well as emotional role, requiring special skills and support. Kenyon has provided these teams for multiple Clients in a variety of events and locations.

    Family Assistance Center – The FAC is a location and operation usually established at a hotel close to the incident site, which affords lodging, meals, travel coordination, security, and areas for group and private information updates. In many countries the establishment and operation of a FAC is mandated by law.

    Kenyon can establish, operate and maintain small or large Family Assistance operations, meeting the requirements of the US Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters.

    Kenyon Family Assistance Center (FAC) operations are divided into five sections:

  • Logistics Section – This team supports the overall operation of the FAC, including procurement and supply of briefing equipment, conference call equipment and translation devices, and office supplies. The security team will liaison with local law enforcement (which provides safety and also prevents unauthorized access to the area and families) is also managed in this area.

  • Transportation Section – This team coordinates the reception and departure of family members from the FAC with the travel section of the Kenyon International Call Center or the Client's own call center. Additionally, local transportation to memorials or the incident site is also coordinated by this section.

  • Housing Section – This team coordinates the assignment of family member accommodations, working areas, staff sleeping areas as well as the operation of catering and food service. Multi-aged child care services are also managed and coordinated through this section.

  • Administration Section – This team supports the FAC with data entry and management. A key role of the FAC is to establish and maintain a database of legal next of kin, family members and their preferred method of contact for future communication. This database often becomes the center database for the various agencies involved in the response. Additionally, all information technology functions are supported by this team.

  • Financial Management Section – This team coordinates and collects receipts, contracts, and tracks all expenditures of the FAC, often in excess of $1,000,000 USD. The ability to quickly track and account for expenses is a vital business continuity function. Establishing and operating a Family Assistance Center is a complex logistical and emotional challenge orchestrated with little notice. It is often the hub of all response activities and requires numerous experienced, multi-skilled professionals ready to stop all other work and completely focus on the FAC. This is another core competency of Kenyon.

  • Mental Health – Qualified, experienced personal personel are provided to conduct debriefings, lead group sessions, and follow-up on meetings with people involved in responding to disasters. These are crucial areas in assisting people to adjust to post-event life.

    Kenyon mental health professionals are incident and crisis trained individuals specializing in dealing with sudden, unexpected death and mass fatalities. There are many organizations with "care givers' and others who have suffered personal loss and tragedy, and certainly play a role in response. However, when it comes to professional trained assistance, it is important to have appropriately trained and credentialed staff that can provide impartial assistance.

    Kenyon-trained professionals are staffed and organized to work with your employees in conjunction with traditional Employee Assistance Programs and Human Resources Departments. They also address the needs of the first responders and others who may have been initially exposed to the sights and sounds of the morgue, incident site and initial family interaction with the morgue and personal effects staff. Finally, they are trained to work with local agencies to ensure appropriate, independent support is available to survivors, families and friends.

    Memorials – Planning and conducting memorials shortly after an incident or after the first anniversary can be complex, emotionally filled, and logistically challenging. Kenyon Disaster Human Services staff members, following the same structure and organization as described for the Family Assistance Center staff, assist Clients in the details of these events. These include arranging for family member travel to and from the event, lodging, transportation, translation services, child care services, security, media coordination, site visits, multi-faith services, mass burials, monument dedications, and information briefs by authorities involved in the loss.

    As with other Family Assistance activities, Kenyon plans for and advises Clients to expect anywhere from 4-6 family members or friends to represent each person directly affected by the event. Typically these events involve several hundred people.

    Transition Service – In addition to the above key areas of disaster human services, Kenyon can assist your business or agency with transitioning from response and recovery operations to normal operations with short-term and long-term memorial or anniversary services.

    For those Clients who have in a single event lost several employees, Kenyon can deploy a project team of specially-trained people to help the survivors and family members work through filing for and accessing benefits, establishing scholarships and endowments, as well as donation management. Using a Kenyon project team will allow your Human Resources, Legal and Administrative Staff to focus on areas such as rebuilding the company and continuing operations.

    Losing employees and members of your team in a disaster is tragic. Losing your business and the ability to support survivors, the community and families is also a tragic loss. However, the ability to manage that and limit the damage is always in your control. A Kenyon project team will establish a separate office space for family to visit and work directly with those families, various government agencies involved and suppliers to resolve insurance, benefits, and other claims.

    As a Kenyon Client retaining Disaster Human Services, you are making the choice to be professionally prepared with real resources ready to go at any time. You protect yourself and your staff from the very real exposure to the emotional trauma that is inherent in responding to these events and you allow your business or agency to focus on its core business while truly caring for those who have been injured or lost.