Mass Fatality Scene Processing: Best Practice Recommendations for the Medicolegal Authority
This document provides definitions, guidelines, and best practices for the detection, processing, and recovery of physical and contextual evidence associated with mass fatality disaster scenes to ensure that evidence is carefully and consistently documented, and recovered in situ. This document focuses on terrestrial scenes that do not involve a significant hazardous materials component. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that appropriate strategies are followed for the search and documentation of the scene, and the recovery of human remains, personal effects, and other probative evidence, while maintaining the chain-of-custody of all items, and ensuring that all areas associated with the scene are processed in a systematic manner. The recommended best practices in this document are intended to help promote the highest level of quality in disaster victim search and recovery operations. This document is applicable to the work of medical examiners, coroners, death investigators, and other forensic personnel, as well as public and private medical, forensic, and investigative professionals (and/or volunteers) that may assist a medicolegal authority at a disaster scene with any evidence detection, recording, and/or collection tasks. In the absence of specific guidance, the principle, spirit, and intent of this document should be met.