THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT
DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY
Public Health Emergency Management Powers
21-P:54 Safe Disposal of Corpses.
I. During the existence of a state of emergency under this chapter, the commissioner of health and human services shall have the following powers and duties, subject to the direction and control of the governor, which are in addition to those set forth in RSA 141-C; provided that such powers and duties shall be limited to the specific nature of the emergency, its geographic limits, and the conditions that brought it about, as specified in the declaration of the state of emergency:
(a) Adopt and enforce such measures to provide for the safe disposal of corpses as may be necessary for the health and welfare of the community;
(b) Take possession and control of any corpse and direct the embalming, burial, cremation, interment, disinterment, transportation, and disposal of corpses;
(c) Compel any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport, and dispose of corpses under the laws of this state to accept any corpse or provide the use of its business or facility if such actions are necessary for emergency response;
(d) Compel any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport, and dispose of corpses under the laws of this state to clearly label any corpse with all available information necessary to identify the decedent and the apparent cause of death;
(e) Compel any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter, transport, and dispose of corpses under the laws of this state having custody of a corpse of a person known or believed to have had an infectious disease to clearly label the corpse with a tag indicating that the corpse is so infected and indicating, if known, the infectious disease; and
(f) Compel every person in charge of disposing of any corpse to maintain a written record of each corpse and all available information to identify the decedent.
II. In carrying out the foregoing actions, the department, to the extent feasible under the circumstances, shall adhere to the religious practices and preferences of the decedents where known.
III. The costs of embalming, cremation, burial, or other disposal of a corpse pursuant to this section shall be a cost to the estate of the decedent and shall be a necessary expense of the funeral and burial of the decedent pursuant to RSA 554:19, I(b).
IV. Any taking of real or personal property in this section shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 4:46.
Source. 2008, 271:1. 2010, 189:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.