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NYDIS Recommends April 7 Queens Faith Leader Preparedness Forum

NYDISnetNYDIS recommends that Queens religious leaders attend the April 7 Citizen Corps borough-based Emergency Preparedness Forum for Faith Leaders. These forums have been organized by the Citizen Corps Council in partnership with the American Red Cross of Greater New York, and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in collaboration with NYDIS and other Citizen Corps members, to promote best practices and to support clergy networking at the neighborhood level in all boroughs. NYDIS board members and staff are among the many subject matter experts on the forum faculty. All of NYDIS's mitigation education and preparedness training resources are available for free to forum participants. To date, 200 clergy have attended the previous forums in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

Upcoming forum schedule:
  • Queens: April 7, Queens Museum of Art
  • Staten Island: TBA

  • To register for free: click here or call 718.422.8904
    :: NYDIS Responds to East Side Crane Collapse - St. Peter's Hosts FAC

    On March 15, a crane collapsed at a construction site on the East Side of Manhattan, killing 6 construction workers and 1 resident to date and injuring at least 28 other workers and civilians. The collapse caused millions of dollars of damage to surrounding residential buildings, which were evacuated immediately. On March 16, NYDIS was activated by the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) to provide relief support for this emergency. Through NYDIS’s HOWCALM™ system, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on 54th Street and Lexington Avenue has been activated as a Family Assistance Center. It will be open from 9:00 am- 9:00 pm March 17 through March 22. The Salvation Army, a NYDIS member, was activated Saturday and has been providing canteen services to recovery workers and residents on site. The American Red Cross has also been on scene providing mental health support and direct assistance as well as sheltering displaced families.

    Residents seeking assistance can go to:
    The Family Assistance Center
    St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
    619 Lexington Avenue (between 53rd and 54th Sts.)

    Call or visit:

    To donate to NYDIS’s recovery effort:

    For more information about the response, see OEM’s March 17 press release:

    :: NYDIS and Partners Complete Emergency Rest Center (ERC) Pilot

    In collaboration with Judson Memorial Church (Manhattan), NYU’s World Faith Program, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), NYDIS has completed the development of a three-hour curriculum for its Emergency Rest Center (ERC) training. Over 20 volunteers from Judson participated in the first pilot training on Tuesday, March 11. Feedback from that pilot was used to finalize the curriculum. NYDIS will launch the training city-wide in April. Over 40 houses of worship are pre-registered with HOWCALM™.

    NYDIS ERCs are houses of worship who volunteer to self-activate or be activated by NYDIS to serve the public by offering hospitality and safe haven during emergencies. They also can be activated as cooling or heating centers. NYDIS trains houses of worship to meet criteria established in conjunction with NYC OEM. It also provides training and operational guidance for volunteers and volunteer managers from NYDIS ERC houses of worship. If your house of worship wishes to participate, please contact NYDIS or register in HOWCALM™ (www.howcalm.org) with an indication of your interest.

    If you have questions, contact:
    Ruth Wenger, Interim Coordinator of Community Outreach and Training
    :: NYDIS Executive Director Presents at Preparedness Conference in Buffalo

    NYDIS Executive Director & CEO Peter Gudaitis was a featured presenter at the Crossing Borders Emergency Preparedness Conference in Buffalo, NY on March 13 and 14. Hosted by Niagara University and regional emergency managers, the two-day conference offered tracks in Public Health & Healthcare; Emergency Management, Leadership, & Governmental Affairs; Public Safety & First Responders; Business Continuity & Risk Management; and Community Preparedness & Participation. Mr. Gudaitis led a workshop entitled “Building Interfaith Partnerships & Training Models for Readiness, Response, and Recovery” as part of the Community Preparedness & Participation track.

    For more information about the conference:
    :: NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Updates
    • NYC 9/11 In-Service Training for Case Workers
      In-Service Training is required for case workers who have never presented a case at the Roundtable, and is recommended as a refresher for experienced case workers who have previously presented cases. All training sessions take place at NYDIS (map).
    • NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Schedule
      The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable brings together donors and agencies providing case management services to financially assist individuals impacted by 9/11. Case managers who would like to present a case to the Roundtable must sign up for a case review meeting with the Moderator. Case review hours are posted on a bi-weekly basis on 9/11 RWCAN at https://911rwcan.communityos.org/cms/
      • Thursday, March 27 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
      • Thursday, April 10 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

      To RSVP, contact:
      Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
    • NYC 9/11 Case Management Coordination Meetings
      NYDIS hosts monthly Case Management Coordination meetings for service providers that are assisting 9/11 recovery workers and the general 9/11-affected community. These meetings are open to representatives from any service providers that wish to coordinate and share information about their services and the community's needs.
      • Thursday, April 3 - 9:00-11:00 am

      To RSVP, contact:
      Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
    :: NYC 9/11 Recovery Resources

    A comprehensive list of news, updates and resources for 9/11 victims and injured recovery workers, updated weekly:
    :: Recovery Resources for Other NYC Area Disasters
    :: Historic WTC Survivors' Staircase Moves

    On March 9, the Vesey Street Stair Remnant, also known as the Survivors’ Stairway, was moved into temporary storage until it is eventually preserved in the WTC Memorial Museum. The Stairway is the only surviving above-ground remnant of the World Trade Center, where it served as an essential path to safety for many survivors on 9/11. It will be placed in the Memorial Museum as a reminder of the WTC, 9/11, and all the events that followed. Port Authority, the Memorial, and preservationists worked together to ensure that the stair was moved carefully and safely.

    Read the press release: click here
    :: GAO Report on NIOSH's 9/11 Health Cost Estimates Released

    On March 12, Senators Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Frank Lautenberg, and Robert Menedez, and Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Vito Fossella released a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concerning the National Institute for Occupational Safety’s (NIOSH) 9/11 health cost estimates. The report concludes that, over the course of the past year, NIOSH has improved its cost estimates for WTC medical monitoring and treatment, lowering the total expected cost to $218.5 million for FY 2008 from the $230 to $283 million estimated for FY 2007. This new number is based on the actual costs of monitoring and treatment in 2007.

    To read the press release from the Office of Congresswoman Maloney: click here

    To read the GAO report: click here
    :: Health of Journalists and Photographers Impacted by 9/11 Events

    On and after 9/11, journalists and photographers from across the United States rushed to Lower Manhattan to capture the events. Photo District News Online reports that many were exposed to the toxic smoke and fumes at Ground Zero as a result. Six and a half years later, they describe experiencing debilitating health effects, similar to those that recovery workers face, that now prevent them from working their jobs and having a normal life. Many of them mention that they were not aware of the dangers of the air since the area had been deemed safe by the EPA. While the deadline for recovery workers to register for workers’ compensation has been extended until August 14 of this year, the deadline for journalists has not been extended.

    Read the article in Photo District News: click here
    :: Pope to Make Pastoral Visit to the World Trade Center Site

    On Sunday, April 20, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will visit the WTC site. The Archdiocese of New York is organizing an honor guard of 9/11 family members for his visit. Members of the honor guard will be chosen by lottery, as participation in the event is extremely limited. The Archdiocese welcomes recommendations for the lottery until March 24. Selected members will be notified in early April. The visit will be televised.

    To recommend a 9/11 family member for the honor guard:

    For more information about the Pope’s visit:

    From Our Members & Partners

    • Sikh Coalition Meets with Attorney General about Sikh Concerns

      Two weeks ago, Attorney General Michael Mukasey met with representatives from faith communities across the United States for conversation about each community’s respective concerns. The Sikh Coalition represented the Sikh community at this meeting, where Amandeep Singh (Sidhu), from the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, outlined the kinds of hate crimes and discrimination that American Sikhs continue to face in many places and situations, from airports to schools. General Mukasey assured the Sikh Coalition that he and the Department of Justice are dedicated to enforcing religious freedom and justice. The Sikh Coalition acclaims his support and eagerness to engage with religious communities about issues they encounter as a result of their faith.

      Read the March 14 advisory on the Sikh Coalition website:
    • HSC Announces Interim Senior Director for Disaster Preparedness and Response

      HSC recently announced that Eric Brettschneider will serve as their Interim Senior Director for Disaster Preparedness and Response. An experienced human services professional, Mr. Brettschneider served as the Executive Director of Agenda for Children Tomorrow for over 18 years. Most recently, he worked for the United Way of NYC as their Interim Senior Vice President. He also teaches at NYU. HSC is pleased to welcome his guidance and support.

      Contact Eric Brettschneider:
    • NVOAD Now Accepting New Members

      National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has approved its updated membership criteria and now is taking applications for new members. NVOAD works to coordinate planning and response efforts during and after disasters to increase the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of that response. This kind of collaboration between agencies is becoming increasingly important as the number and scope of disasters continues to rise. Organizations with voluntary membership and financial accountability that provide disaster relief services are welcomed to apply.

      Read the letter from Diana Rothe-Smith, NVOAD Executive Director: click here

      View the Membership Criteria and Application: click here
    • National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Launches Membership Drive

      NYDISnetThe National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated with the State of New York and now enjoys 501(c)(3) status. NDIN was founded in 2006 by a group of Executive Directors from local, regional, and state disaster interfaith organizations. The network was launched at the 2007 National VOAD Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer. Its mission is to reduce disaster-caused human suffering through the exchange of information and cooperative support across the nation. On February 1st, NDIN released its corporate documents as well as its Program Profile and 2008 Membership Application. Its website, www.n-din.org, will be available in March. All local, regional, and state disaster interfaiths are invited to join.

      To become a member of NDIN, submit the Membership Application: click here

      To view the NDIN Program Overview: click here

      For more information, contact:
      Emily Stoneham, VISTA Member, NDIN


    • NYC OEM Coordinates Advocacy Effort to Amend the Stafford Act

      At the end of February, the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) wrote and distributed letters of support for the recently introduced, human services-related amendments to the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. OEM encouraged other NYC human services organizations to also send these letters to the appropriate U.S. Representatives and Senators to show their support of the amendments. If passed, the bills will increase the amount of assistance money that victims of disasters receive and therefore will make the money that disaster services organizations spend go farther. NYDIS and many of its member agencies sent letters in support of the legislation.

      To receive a copy of the letters NYDIS sent, contact:
      Alison VanBuskirk, VISTA Member, Communications

    Preparedness Initiatives

    • CDC Releases Public Health Preparedness Report

      On February 20, the Centers for Disease Control’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Response released its report, Public Health Preparedness: Mobilizing State by State. The report outlines key improvements in public health emergency preparedness in states and cities across the United States since 9/11. These improvements come in the areas of disease detection and investigation, the number of public health laboratories, states’ response plans, and available trainings. The report also pinpoints areas of public health preparedness that need further development, including states’ abilities to quickly distribute medications to the public and the use of technology to increase readiness and response. Along with a national report, CDC has released information specific to each of the 50 states along with Chicago, Los Angelos County, New York City, and Washington DC.

      Read the NYC report: click here

      See reports for all locations:

      Read the CDC press release:
    • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

      • Is Your House of Worship Registered with HOWCALM™?

        NYDISnetAvailable to NYC faith communities and houses of worship, NYDIS has developed HOWCALM™, a free, secure, web-based database system for managing faith-based assets in times of crisis. By tracking the logistics and resources of houses of worship, religious schools, and faith-based service providers, the system enhances preparedness, response capacity, and emergency planning efforts in NYC. Enrolling in HOWCALM provides congregations with access to the emergency communication system as well as disaster training opportunities. It also enhances NYDIS’s ability to work in partnership with OEM and Human Service agencies in their emergency planning and preparedness efforts.

        For more information download the brochure on pdf: click here

        To register your House of Worship: click here

    • Cold Weather Preparedness

      • Centers for Disease Control: Cool Tip of the Week
        “Wind can lower the ambient temperature. If the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the windchill is -19 degrees Fahrenheit. Exercise caution and dress appropriately in windy conditions even if the temperature is not excessively cold.”

        For more winter weather tips from CDC:
    • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

      • Pandemic Flu Guide: Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza
        Developed for a May 2007 conference in Virginia for religious leaders held by the Fairfax County Health Department, Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza offers a pandemic flu overview and helpful guidance for faith communities as they create preparedness plans. The guide takes the emotional and spiritual aspects of pandemic preparedness into account to frame the readiness strategies it suggests.

        Read the guide: click here

    We Recommend

    • View the Progress at Ground Zero

      As rebuilding continues at Ground Zero, the area is gradually transforming. The site was turned over to contractor Larry Silverstein in mid-February, and construction on two of the office buildings is beginning. Looking at the progress there brings hope for the future of Lower Manhattan six and a half years after 9/11.

      For the latest images of planned development, visit:
    • GAO Report on National Disaster Response

      The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report, “National Disaster Response: FEMA Should Take Action to Improve Capacity and Coordination between Government and Voluntary Sectors,” discusses the roles of FEMA, the Red Cross, and NVOAD during disasters. The report found that FEMA, rather than the Red Cross, should be the primary agency to oversee mass care during disasters because of its resources and its contact with other federal agencies. Mass care services for the disabled particularly need improvement. The report also concludes that FEMA should take a more active role in supporting NVOAD and coordinating between the government and voluntary organizations to improve communication and information sharing during response efforts.

      Read the report: click here
    • Book Review: Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy

      Edited by the Rev. Willard W. C. Ashley Sr., DMin, DH and Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts, BCJC, Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy was written for religious leaders from all faiths who are involved with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Contributors from a wide range of faith traditions offer their perspectives and insight about their experiences working with disasters. They address topics that are relevant to congregations and faith-based organizations, including understanding the impact of disasters on communities, being aware of coping mechanisms, and recognizing compassion fatigue in caregivers. By integrating information about the physical aspects of disaster response with the spiritual and psychological aspects of people’s reactions, this book is a valuable and comprehensive resource for faith communities. It is published by SkyLight Paths Publishing and is now available at www.skylightpaths.com.

      View an informational flyer: click here

      Order the book: click here
    • Scholarship Opportunity: The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation

      The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation is a scholarship program for children of New York City firefighters, victims of September 11, and victims of other disasters and fires. Since 2002, the Foundation has awarded over $800,000 in college scholarships to help these children afford a higher education. The application deadline for this year is April 30. The winners will be announced on June 30.

      Download the application:
    • Scholarship Opportunity: IAEM Scholarship Program

      The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Scholarship Program has scholarship money available for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in emergency management or a similar field. Applications are due on May 16.

      Download the application:

    Save The Date

    • NYCOSH/NYS AFL-CIO Workers’ Compensation Conference

      Changes in New York State Workers’ Compensation Law:
      What Do They Mean to Injured Workers?

      Thursday, March 20
      9 am – 1 pm
      Breakfast served at 8:30 am

      Cornell ILR School
      16 East 34th Street, 6th Floor
      Co-sponsored by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the New York State AFL-CIO, and Cornell ILR School Labor Programs, this event will focus on changes in NY State workers’ compensation laws and how they affect injured workers. Speakers include Zachary Weiss’ Chairperson of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board; M. Patricia Smith, Commissioner of New York State Department of Labor; and Denis Hughes, President of New York State AFL-CIO. Panelists include Michael Lax from the Central New York Occupational Health Clinical Center, Stephen Levin from the Irving J. Selikoff Occupational and Environmental Health Clinic, and Eric Frumin from UNITE-HERE.

      For more information: click here
    • Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference

      Friday, April 11
      SUNY at New Paltz, NY

      The Institute for Disaster Mental Health’s 5th annual conference, “Healing the Scars of War,” is for spiritual leaders and mental health professionals who provide services to veterans. Morning keynote speakers will highlight several approaches to assessment and treatment of service personnel and their families. Afternoon workshops will provide mental health practitioners and spiritual care providers with in-depth information, guidance, and training.

      For more information:

      Online pre-registration begins January 15:
    • Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness Conference

      April 17-18
      New Haven, CT

      Titled, “Community Preparedness: Addressing the Needs of Diverse Populations,” this conference will aim to provide participants with tools that can be used to plan for the needs of special, at-risk, and vulnerable populations during an emergency. Topics include emergency preparedness for diverse populations, ethical principles of emergency management, and risk communication.

      See the informational flyer: click here

      Register for the conference:
    • Geriatric Mental Health and Emergency Preparedness: A Certificate Program

      April 25, May 2, 6, 16, & 23
      8:45 am- 4:00 pm

      J.J. Peters VA Medical Center
      130 W. Kingsbridge Rd., Bronx

      This certificate program will cover topics including Geriatric Mental Health and Disaster Preparedness, Humor in Healing and Stress Management during Disasters, the Role of Clergy as Responders in Disasters and Emergencies, and Alzheimer’s Disease and Emergency Preparedness. The five-day training is free for all J.J. Peters VA Medical Center staff and costs $200 for all others.

      To see the agenda: click here

      To register, go to:
    • Annual National VOAD Conference

      May 5 – 8
      Little Rock, AR

      The 16th Annual VOAD Conference, “Pathways to Partnership," will hold pre-conference meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Kick-Off events start Tuesday night. Responding to attendee feedback, there will be more opportunity to network with “Talkshops,” facilitated discussions around topics of interest. It will take place at the Peabody Little Rock at 3 Statehouse Plaza.

      For more information:
    • Long Island/ New York City Emergency Management Conference

      May 28-29
      Hilton Long Island
      Melville, New York

      Intended for business and emergency management professionals, the 15th Annual Long Island/New York City Emergency Management Conference is titled, “No Man is an Island: Disaster Survival Through Regional Support.” Presentations and speakers will concentrate on the importance of interagency cooperation and support during disasters. With this focus on collaboration, the conference will cover topics such as campus safety and dealing with natural disasters.

      For more information, contact:
      Elizabeth B. O’Neill

      Visit the conference website:

    Job & Volunteer Opportunities

    • NYDIS, Communications Volunteers

      NYDIS is seeking volunteers to provide support for the Communications office. Positions begin immediately.

      To apply, please email a Letter of Inquiry and Resume to:
      pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.
    • NYDIS, Community Outreach & Training Volunteers

      NYDIS is seeking volunteers to support disaster preparedness/training programs and to perform other outreach duties under staff direction. Positions begin immediately.

      To apply, please email a Letter of Inquiry and Resume to:
      pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.
    • Catholic Charities, Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

      Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) is seeking to hire a Disaster Preparedness Coordinator to write, evaluate, and implement their disaster response plans. Additionally, the Coordinator will ensure that CCBQ is active in the NYC disaster preparedness community and coordinate internal and external emergency preparedness.

      For the job description: click here

      To apply, send resume and cover letter to:
      Nina Valmonte
      Associate Director
      Parish & Community Outreach and Services
      Fax: 718.722.6233

    Make a Gift to NYDIS
    • Support NYDIS - Donate Online

      NYDISnetIf you'd like to make a donation to assist NYDIS in its mission of providing faith-based disaster services, click here, or send a check to NYDIS at 22 Cortlandt Street, 20th Fl., New York, NY 10007. NYDIS is a 501(c)(3) corporation and contributions are 100% tax deductible. It is a great way to honor or memorialize someone and we will send an acknowledgement of your gift.

      To donate online, go to the NYDIS homepage and click "Make a Donation":


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    22 Cortlandt Street 20th floor, New York, NY 10007
    Tel: 212.669.6100 Fax: 212.669.6101