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Jefferson County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee to host Mass Fatalities Conference

By Staff | Oct 25, 2013

The Local Emergency Planning Committee of Jefferson County, WV will be hosting a Mass Fatalities Conference at The Quality Inn and Conference Center in Harpers Ferry, on Tuesday, Oct. 29-Wednesday Oct. 30.

Defined as an incident where there are more bodies than can be handled using local resources, a mass fatality incident can occur anywhere. Such incidents can be the result of accidents, pandemics, or other public health emergencies.

Three years ago a Health Preparedness Exercise in Jefferson County, WV identified mass fatalities management as an area that needed improvement. Since this realization, the Jefferson County Local Emergency Planning Committee has been working diligently to better prepare the community should such an event occur in the area. The upcoming Mass Fatalities Conference will help the committee with these efforts.

This Conference will bring together various disciplines from across West Virginia, and our partners in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. to explore past incidents, discuss lessons learns, and define best practices to enhance future responses and decision-making in these complex disasters. The presentations given during this conference will be led by the following speakers:

Dr. John Carson, DDS, DABMDI, a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Dr. Ken Middleton, Clinical Director for Critical Incident Response Programs and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Ms. Robyne Short, Funeral Director and Preparation Room Supervisor at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home;

Mr. Daniel Nichols, Investigator for the West Virginia Chief Medical Examiner’s Office

Mr. John McGuire, Vice President and Funeral Director for McGuire Funeral Service, Inc.

Mr. Edward Hannon, Deputy Director of Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency (JCSESA) In Jefferson County.

Collectively, these speakers have extensive disaster response background which includes involvement in United Flight 93 on 9/11, the Pentagon on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Sago Mine Disaster, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and the Cameron Mine Explosion. Topics to be discussed during the presentations include critical incident stress debriefing, family assistance centers, search & recovery, Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT), and triage in mass casualty response.

For more information regarding the conference, please contact Sandy Hite, Threat Preparedness Coordinator for the Jefferson County, WV Health Department at 304-728-8416.