Mortuary operations following mass fatality natural disasters: a review

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This is a critical review to discuss the best practice approaches to mortuary operations in preparation for and the response to natural, mass fatality, disaster events, as identified by a review of published articles. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) Statement guided the identification of potential articles to use in this critical review. Subsequent searches were also conducted to identify articles relating to heat wave, and flood mortality. All identified peer-reviewed studies published in English which discussed the preparation and response of mortuaries to mass fatality natural disasters occurring in developed countries were included. Using the PRISMA-P method of identifying articles, 18 articles were selected for inclusion in this review. Although there are numerous articles which describe the mortuary response to mass fatality incidents, few articles analyzed the response, or discussed the roles which supported and enabled the organization to undertake the task of identifying disaster victims. It is thus difficult to determine objectively if the actions and activities outlined in the articles represent best-practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalForensic Science, Medicine and Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Emergency mortuary facility
  • Mass fatality
  • Temporary mortuary

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