This episode of Just Science discusses mass fatality incident management and disaster victim identification.
This fourth episode of the Just Science Podcast’s Unidentified Human Remains mini season features two guests, Katharine Pope and Elissia Conlon, a Research Public Health Analyst at RTI International and a Special advisor to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, respectively. Katharine and Elissia discuss methods for identifying disaster victims, agencies that aid with mass fatality management, and developing best practices for disaster planning. They also discuss the future of medicolegal death investigation, noting a need to develop population likelihood values for human characteristics and circumstances that are normally used to support identification methods, as well as the development of modeling for mass fatality incidents, missing persons and victim data, among other things. They also stress the importance for people to recognize that all mass fatality incidents are local in nature and that authorities should have methods for force multiplication and acquiring resources needed to manage operations, and provide advice for legal and operational planning in advance of an emergency situation.