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This chapter examines current methods for addressing disaster fatality issues and discusses some of the complicating factors encountered during a mass fatality response. It discusses the current best practices for managing disaster fatalities. In most disasters, positive identification of disaster victims is based on the comparison of unique biological attributes observed in the remains with concurrent evidence of these features detailed in dental and medical records, radiographs, and other reliable documents. This method of comparing antemortem records with postmortem findings is routine in daily nondisaster forensic casework. DNA analysis is a powerful tool in disaster victim identification and offers a high degree of statistical confidence in its results. Mass fatality responders must provide a standard of care for the disaster dead and their families reflecting both the needs of the living and the complexities of managing the dead.
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