Navy Families Need to Muster, Complete NFAAS In Case of Disaster

Story Number: NNS070604-14Release Date: 6/4/2007 2:22:00 PM
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By Zona Lewis, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- There are two things Navy families should do immediately following a declared disaster -- muster with their command and complete a needs assessment with the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS).

"Mustering and NFAAS should be household terms," said Fleet and Family Readiness Community Alliance Program Manager Meg Falk. "Service members must ensure their family knows the command's muster procedures in case they are not together during a disaster."

All commands are responsible for implementing and administering muster procedures for determining the status and whereabouts of Navy personnel following a catastrophic event.

After a catastrophic event, all Navy personnel deployed to or working within the affected geographic area of interest (GAOI) are required to personally check in either in person or phone with their command at the first available opportunity.

If the service member is deployed, on temporary additional duty, or on individual augumentee assignment outside of the GAOI, and has left a family within the affected area, the family should muster with the service member's command.

It is equally important for the service member or family member to do a needs assessment in NFAAS following a disaster.

"If they have needs, the Navy has resources that can come to bear to support families who have suffered a loss during an emergency," said Falk.

NFAAS is a survey tool to assess disaster-related needs of the Navy family. The systems allows families to assess 19 categories, including: medical, missing family locator, transportation, housing and personal property, financial, employment, child care, education, legal services, counseling, and mortuary and funeral assistance.

"Navy leadership is sincerely concerned for our Navy personnel and their family members in an area affected by disasters and catastrophic events," said Commander, Navy Installations Command Vice Adm. Bob Conway. "NFAAS allows us to provide the Navy family with continued support through the recovery phase."

NFAAS was developed by Task Force Navy Family following the major hurricane season of 2005. The task force identified the need for a single reporting system for Navy family members to inform the Navy regarding their status and needs after a declared emergency or catastrophic event.

NFAAS is a Web-based application used in conjunction with, or independently of, the BUPERS online (BOL) disaster muster tool (DMT). BOL DMT is an online mustering tool for commands to account for active duty, selected Reserve, and DOD civilian (appropriated and non-appropriated fund) employees and their family members.

Personnel mustered through BOL DMT may go directly to the NFAAS Web site to assess their needs. Family members will need their sponsor's social security number and date of birth to access the site.

NFAAS can also be utilized by retirees and contractors and their family members (excluding foreign nationals OCONUS). These members of the Navy family should visit their local Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) for their initial NFAAS assessment. Once in the system, they may update their status online as it changes until they are assigned a case manager. Once a case manager is assigned, they become the Navy family member's single point of contact to update the status of their needs.

Connectivity may be a challenge following a disaster. If Internet and transportation are not available, personnel and families in the affected area may contact the Emergency Call Center at 877-414-5358 (the TDD number is 866-297-1971) to assess their needs.

"I encourage everyone to visit the NFAAS Web site at within 72 hours of mustering with their command for additional information and support," said Conway. "We have the ability to respond rapidly to a family that indicates in NFAAS they have an emergent need after a disaster."

If disaster-related needs are identified, a case manager from a FFSC will be assigned to their case. The case manager will contact the Navy family member to assist them with all of their needs, from the urgent to the informational.

All information provided during the assessment is confidential. Details of the assessment will not be provided to the service member's chain of command or anyone outside the case management team without the provider's approval. Commands will only receive general needs data (e.g., 325 command personnel need temporary housing) to ensure resources and policies are in place to support Navy families.

"Family readiness is critical to Sailor readiness," said Falk. "If you have Navy personnel whose family has suffered a loss, they are going to be preoccupied with getting their family back to a stable state. They will not be focused on the mission. Family readiness means that families know what to do in the aftermath of a disaster, whether the service member is there or not."

Following the 2005 hurricane season, over 7,400 cases were reported in the NFAAS. The biggest two issues were housing and finances, said Falk.

Case managers were able to work on behalf of those affected families by connecting them to internal Navy resources, and external resources such as those provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross.

Falk said that the NFAAS has taken what the Navy has learned over the years about responding to other kinds of disasters and emergencies and raised its response to a new level. A case manager works with an individual or family from the beginning, tracking their history, updating their status, and stays with them until all of their issues are resolved.

"Never before has one-on-one, long term support been there in the same way we are able to do it now," said Falk. "NFAAS is the new gold standard for disaster response and recovery, and it is a profound statement of Navy organizational loyalty to its people."

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