Best Practices In Aviation Disaster Response & Family Assistance to be Explored at September Calgary Conference

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The Family Assistance Foundation is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2009 Family Assistance Foundation Aviation Conference to be held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 15-16, 2009. The Conference, the second of two industry-focused conferences conducted by the Foundation this year, will provide participants with a unique opportunity to learn disaster response best practices on supporting survivors (passengers, families and crew members) of aviation accidents and other types of disasters and emergency events. The conference will also feature a simulation of the establishment of a family assistance center in the aftermath of an aviation disaster.

Family Assistance Foundation

Awareness of the challenges to effectively respond to those who have experienced tragedy has been heightened in the last year, given the number of aviation disasters affecting both domestic and international carriers. This year marks a significant milestone in the evolution of family assistance in aviation, as it is the 20th anniversary of several disasters that greatly influenced how organizations can prepare to meet the needs of survivors and the regulatory requirements that followed. Survivors from some of those accidents will present personal experiences and insight during featured panels at the conference. Additionally, the event will feature two survivors of the 2006 crash of Comair flight 5191 in Lexington, KY, who are participating in a future FAF research study. They will share their experiences and provide disaster response best practices about what worked, and areas where improvement is needed, in meeting the needs of families in the wake of overwhelming loss.

Sessions at the conference will provide executives, emergency response leaders, human resource managers, communications personnel and others with insight into how to best understand and respond to those who have experienced tragedy. Since many survivors both attend and participate in the conference, it provides a unique environment where mutual learning occurs. The two-day event should be of interest to all aviation professionals in the airline industry, business aviation, airports and other aviation-related organizations. Attendance at the conference will also benefit others from various types of organizations that are beginning the process of either implementing or reevaluating their humanitarian response plans to ensure their effectiveness and aviation survival. Specific information will be provided illustrating the Foundation’s specialized approach using the Human Services Response™ model (application of survivor stories and applied research versus a clinical approach) and how it provides positive outcomes for both survivors and the companies involved.

The second day of the conference will allow participants to gain substantial hands-on experience in establishing and operating a Family Assistance Center following an aviation emergency. This day-long exercise will allow conference attendees to take away many valuable lessons in family assistance and tools to integrate into their own emergency response plans.

This year’s conference is hosted by WestJet Airlines and will take place in their corporate offices at 2200 Aerial Drive, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. WestJet, a Family Assistance Foundation Member, has generously donated the use of their facilities for this important event. The Delta Calgary Airport Hotel will serve as the official hotel of the conference.

The Family Assistance Foundation, in its commitment to improve business and industry responses to disasters, has also made great efforts to keep attendance at the conference affordable in the current economic climate. As such, participants can register for as little as $99 per person. Complete registration information is available on the Foundation’s web site at Phone inquiries may be directed to +1.404.881.2895.

About the Foundation
The Family Assistance Foundation, Inc. is an independent, non-profit corporation founded in 2000 for the purpose of empowering people following tragedy. Our mission is to support and improve business and industry responses to emergencies and disasters. The Foundation takes a unique, research-based approach, learning from what survivors have experienced, to help organizations improve their response efforts. Emphasis is on meeting the needs of survivor’s (customers, affected families, employees, any member of the public impacted) by coordinating and mobilizing resources during the acute phase of a crisis and beyond. The Foundation considers survivors as the authorities on how processes may be improved.

The Foundation’s annual symposium and conferences provide member organizations, as well as survivors, the opportunity to share lessons learned and information about how to continually improve response efforts and disaster recovery best practices. Foundation education and training programs support members by monitoring the long-term outcomes of those impacted by tragedy. Promoting awareness and building skills and knowledge for those who are charged with responding are crucial elements of the Foundation’s fully integrated training and support programs for business and industry.


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