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22 NAVY NEWS, JANUARY 2009
Bearers of bad tidings
PAPERWORK. Forms. reports are inescapable – head- are doing is truly worthwhile to be called up at need. Nowadays it is much easier to And this is where the JPA list of
JPA. Let’s be honest. No
lines blare out the bad news on an any sailor, soldier or airman and It is modern communications update your information through names is essential.
one particularly likes them.
unending loop. their families. that allow word to speed back to JPA.” If you are caught up in an inci-
Everyone does their best to
And all you have to do is fill in Their job is not just about deal- this hub at Gloucester – but is the Of course some incidents grab dent, taken seriously ill or worse
avoid them.
that card with your name, rank ing with the injured serviceman, it same communication that allow huge attention – look back at on a foreign shore, the ‘kinform-
and service number and give it can centre on getting the healthy journalists to know of an event HMS Cornwall’s experience. ing’ process kicks off according to
Problem is – that reluctant truth
to the people who matter. Log in service man or woman home to almost as soon as it happens When an event like this flares what you have registered on JPA.
– they do exist for a reason.
to JPA to check and update the where their family need them. “We have two TVs on all the into public perception, a major You can record three categories
Take that little cream-coloured
details you have listed there for Last year a petty officer in the time – not to keep people enter- incident centre (MIC) is set up of contact: most importantly one
card that you’re given in the midst
your emergency contact and next Mediterranean received word via tained but to watch Sky News and calling on up to 30 volunteers at emergency contact of your choice;
of all the bits of paper you’re given
of kin. the JCCC that his father was very BBC News 24,” explained Dave. two hours notice from as far afield also next of kin, in order spouse,
when you join a ship.
If it’s the ex-wife you haven’t seriously ill in hospital in the early “We do have an agreement with as Abbey Wood. children, parents, siblings; and
It doesn’t look like much.
seen in three years, if it’s the father afternoon. the news media for a 24-hour All families can phone this room you can add an additional nomi-
You probably glanced at it and
who died two years back, if it’s When news like that breaks, delay once the next of kin have directly to speak to people. nee – perhaps your dad has a weak
then put it aside thinking “I’ll fill
the boyfriend before you met your the sailor has too much going been informed.” This is the number which flash- heart, perhaps your next of kin is
that in later...”
current fiancé, then change it. on to get bogged down in travel “However informing the next es across your TV screen when the a child.
Did you?
Within the Joint Casualty planning. of kin can throw up all sorts of scale of an event grabs the media’s The emergency contact will
That card (JPA P001) may not
Compassionate Centre (JCCC) The JCCC arranged for a civil- problems. When a liaison officer attention. always be told what has happened
seem like much, but it’s the thing
at Imjin Barracks, Innsworth, in ian flight back to the UK that goes through the door he has as CPO Graham Longhurst said: (unless you ask otherwise at the
that will stop your mother’s heart
Gloucestershire there is a dedi- evening, and for him on arrival much information as we have, up “We get a signal or phone call to time), and if the news is the worst,
breaking when the TV shatters her
cated team of Service personnel in London to be met by someone to the minute, up to the second,” the Ops Room. The duty head the JCCC will make sure your
day with the news that someone
and civilians (part of the Service and transferred on to a Hercules he says. says ‘get the major incident centre next of kin are told in the way in
has died in Afghanistan, or that a
Personnel and Veterans Agency) for travel to Scotland. “The officer can come out ready.’ which such news should be.
ship has hit a rock, or any one of whose job it is to reassure your He arrived at his father’s room and say ‘I’ve told mum and dad, “We grab the list of names from There are three official catego-
a hundred news stories that feed next of kin and reduce their stress in the hospital in the early hours – but they’ve asked me about the JPA to fill in the MIC details. ries: kinforming, kinnotformed,
the media. when times demand. less than 12 hours after he’d heard fiancée in Scotland. They’ve been “All ships maintain a list of kinformed. Only once confirma-
Because on your ship or out on And your stress too. how seriously ill his father was. together for five years and have an souls on board. JPA can download tion is received from the region
the ground you might well have This hardworking team do not “The majority of calls are on 18-month-old child.’ a list of people onboard – names through the visits officer is status
more than enough happening have perhaps the jolliest jobs out the compassionate side. But we do “To us that is the most critical gathered by signal, by email, by updated to kinformed.
around you to think about what’s there – their remit includes the pass on good news as well as bad,” point – if the next of kin details are phone. If a member of your family
being said back in the UK. seriously ill, the injured, the dead explains Dave Reid. not up to date, we’re stuffed.” “On a daily basis the Master at rings the MIC, their names and
But over here the 24-hour news – but they know that what they In the Ops Room, he looks over He stresses: “That’s our main Arms sends a signal back here to details will be recorded. If your
at the desks in front of him. problem. We think the word is register all on board a ship.” JPA record is up to date, the MIC
This room receives 3,500 calls getting out but we can’t empha- In the event of an incident, the can check their details against
each month – from families, from sise it too strongly. cell will break into frenzied life: your record – when those two
servicemen, from ships, from the- “Check your details, make sure “Phone calls will come into here records tally, news that you are
atre, from distant corners of the they’re up to date. We know when from family, public or media.” fine can be passed on to the peo-
world. you’re going overseas that you ple who matter.
During the day there are eight have a lot on your mind. Filling in that paperwork
staff here on duty, at weekends or matters...
nights it goes down to two. But
there is always someone here, and
there are people on standby to
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