The State of Florida, in its disaster preparedness effort, and the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine have collaborated to develop and implement protocols to respond to a mass fatalities incident within its borders using trained personnel from multiple state, and local agencies, as well as other specialized resources in the event of a human-made or natural catastrophic incident. The investigative and identification process in a mass fatality situation is a multidisciplinary endeavor requiring multiple forensic and medical specialists to come together rapidly often under adverse conditions.
The rapid and accurate identification of mass fatality victims is of critical importance to any disaster mitigation operation. Issues of probate cannot be resolved until a death certificate has been issued by the Medical Examiner. FEMORS was created to serve the needs of Medical Examiners in their mission to bring dignity and professionalism to caring for the deceased. The FEMORS task force duties may include: Initial Scene Response and Evaluation, Processing the Scene, Temporary Morgue Operations and Administration, and the roles of various forensic units within the morgue (e.g., pathologist, anthropologist, odontologist, radiologist, fingerprint specialist, DNA analyst, funeral director, and others), Victim Identification, Disposition of Human Remains (Embalming/casketing), Personal Effects, and Evidence Collection.
FEMORS members are classified, based upon the level of expertise they have achieved through experience and education. FEMORS is a sponsored activity of the University of Florida in collaboration with the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. FEMORS is supported by the Florida Department of Health with funding made available through:
– CDC Bioterrorism Grant Number U90/CCU417006,
– National Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP under ASPR) via CFDA #93.889, and
– Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP under CDC) Cooperative Agreement.