Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “procedures on death”

Whatcom [Washington State] County Medical Examiner’s Policy and Procedure Manual

Whatcom [Washington State] County Medical Examiner’s Policy and Procedure Manual – http://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/369

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Under what circumstances would a family have no veto over conducting an autopsy?
  • What do medical examiners do at the scene of a homicide?
  • When must deaths be reported to a medical examiner?
  • If someone dies of an apparent heart attack during a bank robbery, must the medical examiner be informed?


This is a 53 page coroners manual that covers a number of situations, including:

  • Types of Deaths to be Reported to the Medical Examiner
  • Deaths Occuring in Emergency Rooms
  • SIDS Deaths
  • Non-Homicide – Scene Investigation
  • Homicide – Scene Investigation
  • Indigent Remains
  • Personal Property Procedure

Unless you notice specific references to Washington State statutes, it is probably safe to assume that this manual’s policies and procedures are mostly applicable to other jurisdictions. You can find medical examiner’s manuals for other jurisdictions by visiting usa.gov and searching (“medical examiners” manual)


Death of a Volunteer Procedures (Peace Corps)

MS 265 – Death of a Volunteer Procedures (Peace Corps) – http://files.peacecorps.gov/documents/MS-265-Policy.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Why are Peace Corps staff charged to stand watch over a volunteer’s remains at all times?
  • Who normally accompanies the remains of a Peace Corps volunteer?
  • What information does a Peace Corps Medical Officer have to report on the death of a volunteer?
  • What happens at an in-country memorial service for a Peace Corps volunteer?


This 14 page guide outlines what needs to be done when a Peace Corps volunteer dies in country.

Navy Retiree Death Notification proceedings

Navy Retiree Death Notification proceedings – http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/publications/shiftcolors/Pages/reportdeath.aspx

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How long does it take for the Navy to send out a condolence letter after notification a retiree has died?
  • Under what circumstances might a grieving family be sent a bill?
  • When reporting a Navy retiree’s death, who else should be notified?


These are steps that next of kin of Navy retirees are required to take when their retired relative dies. This is so that retirement benefits can be ended and survivorship benefits begun.

Coast Guard Boston Decedent Affairs pages

Coast Guard Boston Decedent Affairs pages –http://www.dcms.uscg.mil/dcms.uscg.afpims.mil/Our-Organization/Director-of-Operational-Logistics-DOL/Bases/Base-Boston/Personnel-Support-Department/Decedent-Affairs/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What seven things MUST be reported within FOUR hours of the death of a Coast Guard Member?
  • What must be documented by the officer notifying next of kin of the death of a Coast Guard Member?
  • Under what circumstances must a next of kin receive a visit from a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO)?
  • What happens during a Coast Guard CACO notification visit?
  • How many people are sent to visit next of kin?


Provides information on procedures followed by the Coast Guard and other military services when an active duty member or dependent dies.

Links to the following resources, among others:

  • Statement of Disposition of Remains – States reimbursement maximums for internment of a military member.
  • CACO Handbook – Reference for Casualty Assistance Calls Officers
  • Casualty Assistance Guide – Reference for Next of Kin upon death of an active duty member
  • Checklist for DAO’s and CACO’s – For death of a regular or reserve member
  • Checklist for Dependent Death
  • CACO Actions broken into phases A through D – Actions/documents to review broken down into 4 time periods from notification to 2 months after death, many tabs in document.
  • Veterans Affairs – Burials and Memorials
  • Personnel Casualty Report Message – Reference to assist with writing message.
  • Personal Effects Inventory and Disposition – Sample Form CG-3853.

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