2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:13-7 - Actions during state of public health emergency, coordination.
26:13-7 Actions during state of public health emergency, coordination.
7.During a state of public health emergency or in response to a public health emergency:
a.The commissioner, State Medical Examiner and Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall coordinate and consult with each other on the performance of their respective functions regarding the safe disposition of human remains, to devise and implement measures which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1)To take actions or issue and enforce orders to provide for the safe disposition of human remains as may be reasonable and necessary to respond to the public health emergency. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, the temporary mass burial or other interment, cremation, disinterment, transportation and disposition of human remains. To the extent possible, religious, cultural, family, and individual beliefs of the deceased person or his family shall be considered when determining disposition of any human remains;
(2)To determine whether there is a need to investigate any human deaths related to the public health emergency, and take such steps as may be appropriate to enable the State Medical Examiner, or his designee, to take possession or control of any human remains and perform an autopsy of the body under protocols of the State Medical Examiner consistent with safety as the public health emergency may dictate;
(3)To direct or issue and enforce orders requiring any business or facility, including but not limited to, a mortuary or funeral director, authorized to hold, embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport and dispose of human remains under the laws of this State to accept any human remains or provide the use of its business or facility if such actions are reasonable and necessary to respond to the public health emergency and are within the safety precaution capabilities of the business or facility; and
(4)To direct or issue and enforce orders requiring that every human remains prior to disposition be clearly labeled with all available information to identify the decedent, which shall include the requirement that any human remains of a deceased person with a contagious disease shall have an external, clearly visible tag indicating that the human remains are infected and, if known, the contagious disease.
b.The person in charge of disposition of any human remains shall maintain a written or electronic record of each human remains and all available information to identify the decedent and the circumstances of death and disposition. If human remains cannot be identified prior to disposition, a person authorized by the State Medical Examiner shall, to the extent possible, take fingerprints and photographs of the human remains, obtain identifying dental information, and collect a DNA specimen, under protocols of the State Medical Examiner consistent with safety as the public health emergency may dictate. All information gathered under this subsection shall be promptly forwarded to the State Medical Examiner who shall forward relevant information to the commissioner.
c.The commissioner and State Medical Examiner shall coordinate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies in any case where human remains may constitute evidence in a criminal investigation.
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