If you are PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY reporting a transportation emergency,
please call 202-314-6290
to speak to a NTSB Watch Officer (24/7).
The NTSB Transportation Disaster Assistance Division (TDA) has developed a brochure for law enforcement and public safety personnel explaining how to support the NTSB during the on-scene phase of an aviation accident investigation.
The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 and the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008 require the NTSB to coordinate the disaster response resources of federal, state, local, and volunteer agencies. TDA will work closely with these agencies including law enforcement and public safety personnel to meet the needs of aviation and Amtrak rail disaster victims and their families on scene. Family counseling, victim identification and forensic services, communicating with foreign governments, and translation services are a few of the services that can be coordinated during an accident.
Although there is no legal requirement for TDA to respond to non-legislative transportation accidents involving select rail operations, marine, highway, or pipeline, TDA works with NTSB investigators on-scene to assist local and state agencies to coordinate assistance and information for survivors, family members, and friends either via telephone or on-scene. At any time during an accident investigation, the NTSB investigator is able to request the assistance of TDA.
Further information about family assistance operations and planning can be found at TDA Family Assistance Operations: Legislation, Policy, and Planning.
Transportation Disaster Assistance Training Courses
In addition to providing both on-scene and remote coordination with local, state, and federal agencies, the NTSB offers guidance and training courses on transportation disaster response. These courses will better prepare emergency responders, local and state agencies, and public safety personnel during transportation accidents investigated by the NTSB.
TDA provides several training courses through the NTSB Training Center:
Family Assistance (TDA301): Developed for commercial transportation officials, representatives of federal agencies, staff of non-governmental relief organizations and emergency managers, this course is instrumental in understanding how any organization involved in the accident response can most effectively support the family assistance efforts.
Emergency Responders (TDA402): Designed specifically for emergency responders and planners, this course provides participants with the tools to most effectively manage a major transportation disaster. Audio/video materials, case studies, recent examples and panel discussions are employed to illustrate key principles of the unique aspects of responding to major transportation disasters.
Mass Fatality Incidents for Medicolegal Professionals (TDA403): This course examines the principles of managing the medicolegal response to transportation-related mass fatality incidents. Areas that will be addressed include managing search and recovery operations, the antemortem and postmortem data collection process, quality assurance, and interacting with family members regarding medicolegal issues.
Managing Transportation Mass Fatality Incidents (TDA 406): This course is designed specifically for the emergency management, law enforcement, and medicolegal communities. Areas that will be addressed include the core principles for managing the transition from first response and life safety operations into the disaster victim recovery and identification process.
Please contact TDA for further assistance or questions about NTSB TDA training.