Separation Anxieties

In the event of emergency, it’s not uncommon for members of families to be temporarily separated from each other. In order to ensure that separation is as short as possible, Livingston County is working to put together Michigan’s first family reunification support team.

Working with a $15,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and coordinating through the Livingston Count Department of Health and Nutrition, the family reunification support team is expected to deploy twenty volunteers trained in CPR and first aid in the event of an emergency, centered around a pop-up tent. Leaders for the support group will also be selected to attend the 2016 Great Lakes Homeland Security Conference.

Based on the words of Public Health Director Diane McCormick, the response team is expected to “fill a gap”. Because, while local schools have plans for emergencies, a community-wide program for family reunification has been lacking.

As noted in the grant proposal, "We know that natural (and) man-made disasters are more prevalent and mass shootings are increasing at an alarming rate. ...Both of these emergency events result in an increased possibility for children to become separated from their parents," and "A parent's worst fear is not being able to find their child".