Foundation, reminding you that a fully-integrated approach for assisting survivors of
traumatic loss involves a balance of head and heart.
“The good heart, which is the fruit of virtue, is by itself a great benefit to
humanity. Mere knowledge is not.”
Soon enough, following a tragedy where an organization’s customers and
employees are injured or killed, a business must return to normal operations.
However, today, most businesses recognize the need to offer services and
support to customers, employees and families during the first few days and
The success of the groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence, released by Daniel
Goleman in 1995, and the surging increase of jobs in the “caring professions”
—counseling, nursing, and hands-on health assistance—over the last couple of
decades are just two examples of why emergency planners must include emotional
safety, as well as life or physical safety, in their plans. In addition to training the
employees (Care Teams) who will assist the survivors, it is important for an
organization to build in support for those who leave their regular jobs, their
families and, many times, their own homes to help those left in the wake of
the tragedy. Their supervisors and others in the organization should be educated
on the importance of their work and how they can do their part by supporting the
teams that are assisting the injured and families.
“Without an animating, educated heart, the intellect appears superior, and we
give too much attention and value to it.”
The Education of the Heart
(1996, Harper Collins)
After the original research that showed the power employees have to make a
significant impact on the lives of survivors was published (Coarsey,1992),
American Airlines was the first airline to establish a CARE Team.
At that time at American, Robert “Bob” Baker, Executive Vice President of
Operations, presided over accident response. When it came to Bob’s attention that
the CARE Team employees were not receiving support from their supervisors, as
many felt the employees were needed more in their normal jobs, Bob would
personally speak to the supervisor and explain that the team member was
performing a “higher” job for the company during a critical time. Receiving support
from that level within the organization caused others to have a greater respect for
the role of the CARE Team and, on a larger scale, his support helped legitimize the
family assistance team role in airlines as well as all business and industry.
Having served in various jobs during his 34 years at American, following in the
footsteps of his father who served the airline for 41 years, no one understood the
need for the operations side of an airline more than he. But when it came to
responding to survivors of a crash, Mr. Baker modeled for the world the need to
allow the heart side of the corporation to take priority over “business as usual.”
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Aviem & Family Assistance Foundation
555 North Pont Center East, Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
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