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Casualty Assistance Program

Employee safety and well-being are the highest priorities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. While the Forest Service makes every effort to mitigate safety hazards for its employees, the potential for employee injury, or even loss of life, is very real because of the work they do. 

The Forest Service Casualty Assistance Program ensures that employees and their families are supported after an accident or injury. Under this program, the Forest Service takes a coordinated approach to assist employees, their families, and the larger interagency community following a casualty (while people usually associate the term “casualty” with death, casualty support can also refer to support the Forest Service provides after a serious injury or illness). Along with providing support, the program promotes individual and collective resilience.

The program applies to work or non-work related (off-duty) fatalities and serious injuries and illnesses, and may provide family members with:

  • Family and hospital liaisons

  • Benefits and entitlements assistance

  • Transportation and burial assistance

  • Mortuary and funeral honors assistance

  • Emotional support resources

  • Public affairs assistance, including working with the media

Areas of support that the program provides to units and employees may include, but is not limited to:

  • Assessing and identifying service-wide needs for critical incidents to provide decision support

  • Identifying and training employees and agency liaisons to engage with families and employees during and after a critical incident

  • Assisting employees, their families, and the larger interagency community during and after a critical incident

  • Providing peer support during a critical incident

An agency administrator (line officer) assigns liaisons to employees and their families following an injury, illness, or loss of life. Hospital liaisons are for an injured employee and his or her family. Family liaisons are for the family of a deceased employee. Hospital and family liaisons serve as intermediaries between the family and the Forest Service. They support the family and report back to agency officials to ensure that the family’s needs are met. Agency administrators may also approve liaisons for off-duty events, such as fatalities, serious injuries, or suicides.


Click on the following links for information about each resource listed.