Rapid DNA’s Role in Disaster Victim Identification

Rapid DNA’s Role in Disaster Victim Identification

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2019 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Historically DNA technology has been used as a last resort in the identification of disaster victims. Traditional DNA testing can be a lengthy process and can be costly having to send samples out to laboratories and waiting for the results. Rapid DNA technology can cut the time and costs for DNA testing drastically as it can produce viable DNA profiles in only 90 minutes. In 2015 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) began exploring the use of Rapid DNA technology in mass fatality responses. Rapid DNA instruments were deployed to mass fatality incident drills and exercises to test different capabilities. DHS S&T was able to identify and mitigate potential logistical challenges and determined that these instruments are easy to use and effective. Just-in-time training is effective, sample collection is simple, and the instruments produce real-time results in the same time it takes a family to complete a victim identification antemortem interview.

In November of 2018, California experienced its deadliest destructive wildfire in history. The Camp Fire in Butte County, CA tragically took the lives of 85 people in a matter of just a few hours. Due to the heat and intensity of the fire, traditional methods of identification were not feasible. The Butte County Sheriff’s office turned to Rapid DNA in order to identify the victims. ANDE provided instrumentation and staff for the DNA for the unprecedented response efforts. The quick and accurate identification of these victims demonstrates that Rapid DNA is a viable option for disaster victim identification. This rapid response not only saved time and money, but brought information and understanding to the families of those victims much faster than traditional DNA testing methods.

Detailed Learning Objectives:

1) Understand how the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has used Rapid DNA technology in mass fatality response operations

2) Become aware of how mass fatality response exercise participants welcomed the use of Rapid DNA to identify victims

3) Appreciate how Rapid DNA was used in the 2018 Camp Fire mass fatality human identification response to quickly identify victims

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

Dr. Amanda Sozer – Founder and President of SNA International
Dr. Richard Selden – Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at ANDE


Please read this short announcement and follow the registration instructions below.

RTI International and the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence are continually striving to bring you the optimum learning experience when delivering our online events and webinars. To better disseminate our content to the growing forensic community, we are pleased to announce that we are starting to host our events on a new virtual platform. This platform will provide a better user interface, putting more content, discussion, and knowledge at your fingertips.

To register for this event, you may need to build a new account with the instructions below.

Step 1: Go to to create a new account.

Step 2: Once you have successfully created an account, you will receive a confirmation email. Click on the link in the confirmation email to finalize setup of your new account. If you do not receive this email, please email us at for us to manually confirm your account, and contact your email administrator as they may be blocking the confirmation email and future reminders from being received.

Step 3: Once your account creation is complete, navigate to this link to enroll in and register for this webinar:

Step 4: Once you have successfully registered for the event, you will receive a confirmation email. In this confirmation email, there will be a calendar invite as well as a link that will direct you back to the event the day it is scheduled to begin. To receive a reminder about the event, add the invite to your calendar.

Finally, we are excited about our new virtual platform and welcome any feedback you would like to provide at