The New York State Funeral Directors Association’s (NYSFDA) Family Assistance Commission (FAC) is comprised of a group of trained, licensed funeral directors from across the state who stand ready to assist New York State’s local governments in the event of a disaster occurring within their borders.
When a small or medium-scale mass fatality disaster occurs, FAC members – located in all areas of the State – would use their skills to interview survivors and next-of-kin and process paperwork to assist in identifying and facilitating the release of remains to the next-of-kin or other representatives.
FAC members have been chosen based on their broad experience working with families throughout the United States after a disaster has occurred resulting in mass fatalities. The FAC operates under the auspices of NYSFDA’s Tribute Foundation, which is the non-profit charitable arm of NYSFDA. The Foundation will provide insurance and liability protection to all FAC members while activated and while travelling to and from the local site where their services are rendered. Their cost of lodging, if necessary, is also covered by the Foundation. There is no cost whatsoever to the municipality for using the services and expertise of the FAC.
The FAC’s specific operating guidelines are contained in a basic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) operating document that would jointly be agreed-upon and signed by both the FAC and a supervising county official just prior to the FAC providing its services.
Funeral directors, with their professional backgrounds and profound understanding of the issues faced by after the loss of a loved one, are the most qualified individuals to help families and other survivors work through these very difficult steps. This is especially so when the loss is sudden due to unexpected events like an accident or disaster. FAC members are prepared to work alongside those coordinating disaster response and all other participants to ensure that providing these vital services during a time of extreme confusion and grief proceed as smoothly as possible.
For more information, or to enlist the services of the NYSFDA Family Assistance Commission, please contact Marianne Reid Schrom, Director, Family Assistance Commission at 800-291-2629.