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Free Mass-fatality Planning Course Available for Rural Communities

Posted: June 30, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security, through the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC), is making available at no charge, a course to help funeral directors and other emergency response professionals in small, rural and remote areas strengthen their capabilities of responding to natural or man-made mass-fatality disasters.

The Mass Fatality Planning and Response for Rural Morticians and Funeral Directors course is intended to create a partnership between post-mortem professionals, such as coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors, and the rural emergency response community. These professions are vital to mass-fatality incident response and provide the leadership, guidance and support necessary to properly address the recovery, identification, and processing of remains, as well as coordination with effected family members. Coroners and medical examiners will lead planning and response efforts. Funeral directors in rural communities have facilities and, more importantly, local community knowledge and expertise that will be called upon during the response. Local emergency response personnel are critical support elements to all aspects of fatality management and thus collaboration between the two distinct groups is invaluable.

Arbie Goings, lead instructor for the course noted, "The curriculum is designed to introduce participants to issues related to mass-fatality response activities," and adds that it is "fully interactive where class participation is highly encouraged and necessary." By fostering relationships and ensuring plans and actions are effectively communicated between the two groups, the hope is that the preparedness level identified in the national report is increased in future years.

To request this course in your area or to register for an already scheduled course, visit

This course is one of many DHS-certified courses available from the RDPC. To learn more about the RDPC or schedule training, visit, email or call 877-855-7372. RDPC training is tuition-free for qualifying jurisdictions.