WILMINGTON — A Family Assistance Center (FAC) is being set up, and would be activated as part of the recovery effort in the event of local mass fatalities.
Clinton County Emergency Management Agency Director Thomas B. Breckel spoke about several items Monday with Clinton County commissioners, among them the planned FAC.
The Wilmington Area Ministerial Association (W.A.M.A.) has agreed to provide volunteer support to an FAC in the county.
On Tuesday, a facility survey will take place at Dove Church Wilmington to determine whether the church building on Rombach Avenue is a suitable location for an FAC, said Breckel. And training for FAC volunteers and service workers is scheduled for January.
As an illustration, the local EMA director pointed to the FAC that opened up in the Dayton Convention Center a couple hours after the August mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District.
An FAC is a place where family can go if they believe a family member may have been hurt in an active aggressor event or, say, a tragic bus crash. In other words, an FAC is a site for families to gather almost immediately after a situation that involves multiple deaths or injuries and the details are sketchy.
Upon arrival, an intake person will learn who the family is looking for and other staff will contact hospitals to try to account for the person’s condition and whereabouts.
An FAC has other components, said Breckel, such as an area to take care of children, and an area where adults can receive support from ministers or just sit and be quiet.
An FAC would also be staffed by people associated with mental health services, the coroner’s office, public health, Job & Family Services, and more.
Coroner interviews would help in identifying who is and is not a victim through family information about what their family member was wearing, and markings and tattoos.
Family members will find out what is known one-on-one from FAC staff and not from a newscast, said the EMA director.
Designated areas would be set aside for family briefings, coroner interviews, child care, quiet space, and mental health/ministerial support.
On another topic, a serious event will draw media inquiry and two people have agreed to be contingency Public Information Officers for Clinton County — Clinton County Health Department Commissioner Pam Bauer and Duane Weyand, former chief of the Wilmington Police Department. Both already have experience with the news media, noted Breckel, who said more training is planned as well.
In the event of a natural disaster that affects utilities, Breckel is working with the Wilmington Church of God to leverage its food donations warehouse on South Nelson Avenue for bottled water and nonperishable food items.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.