We must acknowledge that emergencies can and will happen to anyone, with or without warning. Thus, at some point, an ombudsman may receive a call from someone experiencing a crisis or disaster. Ombudsman are trained to recognize a situation, make an appropriate referral as soon as possible and report certain situations as required by law, military instruction and the commanding officer.

An individual crisis might include domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault, suicide or the death of a loved one. Disasters could involve command emergencies such as an accident at sea, natural disasters such as a hurricane or earthquake or man-made disasters such as an active shooter. Regardless of what happens, ombudsmen trained in responding to these events will keep the families supported and informed.

Ombudsmen provide resources that assist during a crisis or disaster. One of the familiar resources is the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil. This site enables the Navy to account for, assess and monitor the recovery process for Navy personnel and their families affected by a widespread catastrophic event. Ask your Sailor if he or she has recently updated your family’s information in NFAAS.

Another great resource is Ready Navy at https://www.ready.navy.mil/. This site is the Navy’s emergency preparedness program, sponsored by Commander, Navy Installations Command. Ready Navy provides information, tools and resources that empower the Navy family to better prepare for, react to and recover from an emergency, with or without advanced warning. The primary tenets of Ready Navy are to be informed, have a plan, make a kit and stay informed.

During a crisis or disaster, reporters may approach ombudsmen or family members, asking for information about the event.

Ombudsmen are encouraged to have the phone number of the installation’s Public Affairs Officer (PAO) in their phone so they can make the appropriate referral to the official point of contact, avoid being placed in an uncomfortable position or possibly violate operations security (OPSEC).

To learn more about how to respond in a crisis or disaster or to find your command ombudsman, contact your FFSC Ombudsman Coordinator or RCC Warrior and Family Support Specialist, or use the Contact Your Ombudsman feature on the Ombudsman Registry home page at https://ombudsmanregistry.cnic.navy.mil.

Connecticut Media Group