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Family Support

 

Operational Guideline # 591.00

25 September 2001

________________________________________________________________________

Purpose

This guideline provides information concerning the initiation and function of the Family Support Section of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.

Scope

This guideline is applicable during full, or modified, Task Force Deployments

Mission

The Family Support Section provides current, accurate information to families of deployed members, as well as a peer support network. In addition, the Family Support Section will provide assistance as necessary to families of deployed members in areas such as child care, emergency home/auto repair, etc. 

Chain of Command

The Family Support Section reports directly to the Fire Chief, or designee, of the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

Deployment Notification

During the deployment notification process, pre-identified members of the Family Support Section shall also be notified. These members shall initiate a phone tree notification of the balance of its members.

As soon as possible, FSS members shall meet with the PFD Fire Chief, or designee, and implement the procedures outlined in this guideline.

The FSS will be given sufficient office space to conduct their operations, to include a dedicated phone line and computer/internet access.

Information Needed

During the initial briefing with the Fire Chief, or as soon as possible, the following information shall be obtained:

  • List of all personnel deployed.
  • Family contact information for personnel deployed
  • Phone number and E-mail address of deployed location
  • Phone number and E-mail address to be used by the FSS

Initial Component Notification

As soon as information is available, the FSS Leader shall contact the geographic component section leaders, to include:

  • Westmoreland
  • Baltimore County
  • Philadelphia
  • Harrisburg

At least once daily, or as requests for assistance are made, the geographic component leaders shall be contacted and be given updated information. 

Contact personnel from the geographic components are responsible to coordinate family assistance issues for the personnel within their component. These components come under the direct guidance of the Family Support Section.

Initial Family Notification

As soon as necessary information is available, the family of each deployed member shall be notified and be given the following information:

  • FSS Phone number (215) 683-9245 Day and Evening
  • FSS E-mail address
  • Emergency Phone number        (215) 686-1340
  • Hours the FFS will be operating and hours family members can call in for information.
  • Times to call for updated information

In addition, the following information shall be gained from the family member:

  • Other available contact numbers
  • Any immediate unmet needs

Family Support Section Staffing

The FSS shall be staffed by two (2) FSS members from 0800 hrs to 2000 hrs each day members are deployed.

In addition, an FSS Duty member shall be designated for each night. Their phone number shall be given to the Fire Department Duty Chief, and the Philadelphia Fire Communications Center.

Routine Information

FSS members shall contact the Task Force Technical Information Section prior to the posted Family call in times to receive updated information. Information should include:

  • Type and hours of work members are performing
  • General condition and moral of members
  • Direct contact e-mail to the deployed location, if applicable.
  • Other information deemed appropriate

In addition, each Family member shall be asked if they have any unmet needs.

Due to reasons of security, only information cleared through the Fire Chief, or designee, shall be disseminated to family members.

Requests for information by the media shall be routed to the Fire Chief or designee.

Emergency Information

Family Member Emergency

If an emergency arises with a deployed members family, the family member shall contact the Philadelphia Fire Communication Center at the posted number. The dispatcher shall notify the Fire Department Duty Chief, as well as the FSS Duty member.

The family member shall be contacted directly to ensure accurate information.

Once accurate information has been determined, a formal plan to deal with the emergency will be developed prior to the deployed member being notified. The deployed Task Force Duty Officer, or Task Force Leader, should be contacted as soon as accurate information has been obtained, although he should be instructed NOT to notify the deployed member until instructed to do so. In addition, the PEMA watch desk should be notified.

As soon as the formal plan is developed, the member shall be notified, and as much assistance as necessary shall be afforded by the FSS.

Deployed Member Emergency

Upon receipt of information of a deployed member emergency, the Fire Chief, or designee shall be notified immediately, as well as the FSS Duty Member. In addition, the PEMA watch desk is to be notified.

All available information shall be obtained from the deployed Task Force Duty Officer, or Task Force Leader. This information is to be verified as much as possible.

Once information has been confirmed, a formal plan to deal with the emergency will be developed prior to the family member being notified.

As soon as the formal plan is developed, the family shall be notified, and as much assistance as necessary shall be afforded by the FSS.   

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