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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 Response Update to Crane Collapse - Thanks St. Peter's Lutheran Church

    NYDISnetOn March 15, the crane collapse in the Turtle Bay, East Side neighborhood killed 7 workers and civilians, injured dozens of others, displaced hundreds of families, and caused millions of dollars in damage to surrounding residential buildings. On March 17, OEM requested that NYDIS’s HOWCALM™ system locate a participating house of worship to serve as an assistance center. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on Lexington Avenue generously agreed to host this center from March 17 - 21. After that week of operation, it was relocated to the OEM Mobile Data Center. NYDIS is grateful for St. Peter’s hospitality and partnership in this relief effort. Anyone wishing to make donations to support the unmet needs of low-income clients should contact NYDIS.

    To learn about the current Incident Report or the status of building and street closings:

    :: NYDIS and Partners to Launch Emergency Rest Center (ERC) Training - May 1

    In May, in collaboration with NYU’s World Faith Program and the NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), NYDIS will begin offering a three-hour training to houses of worship that would like to become NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers (ERC).

    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. Houses of worship must meet basic criteria established in conjunction with NYC OEM. The training also provides 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.  Over 40 houses of worship are currently pre-registered.

    If you have questions, contact:
    Rick Fernandez - Trainer, Community Outreach and Training
    :: NYDIS Board/Staff Attend CWS Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry

    Three NYDIS Board members and Executive Director Peter Gudaitis attended the Church World Service Forum on Economics & Justice in Disaster held in Nashville, TN from March 29 - April 1. The forum invited scholars, researchers, theologians, and experienced field professionals from across the country to explore strategies for shaping future disaster ministries models.

    For more information about the forum or to receive copies of forum presentations, contact:

    Or visit:
    :: 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, April 10 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
      • Thursday, April 24 - 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 - 10:00 am-12:00 pm

      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
    :: FEMA's New National Response Framework Now In Effect

    On March 22, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Framework (NRF) went into effect after being posted in the Federal Register for 60 days as the law requires. FEMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), released the NRF in January to replace the former National Response Plan. The NRF coordinates the efforts of Federal, State, and local governments as well as community organizations, to effectively respond to and recover from disasters. It also focuses on disaster preparedness at all levels of the government. During the 60 days since it was released, FEMA has been reaching out to emergency managers to train them about important concepts and changes in the NRF.

    Read the March 21 press release: click here
    :: CDC Responds to 9/11 Health Needs of Responders Outside NYC Area

    On March 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it will issue a solicitation of sources to provide federally-funded medical monitoring and treatment to 9/11 responders who live outside of the New York City metropolitan area. The World Trade Center Health Registry reports that people from all 50 states have experienced 9/11-related health problems as a result of coming to Lower Manhattan after 9/11. Over 10,000 of the 71,000 people registered live outside the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. While there is a federally-funded program for medical monitoring and treatment for responders living in New York City, there currently is no such program for responders living elsewhere in the country. CDC aims to fund a program for these responders through an institution that responds to its upcoming solicitation.

    Read the announcement by CDC: click here

    Read the press release from the Office of Congresswoman Maloney: click here
    :: NYPD Seeks Control of Security at Ground Zero

    The New York Police Department (NYPD) aims to take full control of the security operations at Ground Zero. They are negotiating their proposed plan with the Port Authority who currently runs security at the site. Their concerns have been prompted by awareness of security vulnerabilities in the plans for the new Towers 2, 3, and 4 which are beginning to be built at the WTC site. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly fears that Port Authority is not prepared to adequately protect the site from terrorism and other security breaches. If the negotiations go as planned, NYPD forces would replace those of Port Authority at the WTC site. NYPD would guard the site with over 500 officers and would operate security checkpoints for vehicles at all entrances. The Port Authority would retain control of the PATH trains.

    Read the March 28 article in the Daily News: click here

    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:
    • 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


    • Sikh Coalition to Release Civil Rights Report at City Hall Rally - April 14

      The Sikh Coalition will be releasing a Civil Rights Report at a community rally on April 14, the biggest holiday in the Sikh faith. The report includes results from a survey of over 1,000 Sikhs conducted in all 5 boroughs. Sikhs were interviewed about their experiences with incidents of bias, employment discrimination, and language access for the purpose of assessing and improving the state of Sikh rights in New York City and the United States. Sikh Coalition staff, Sikh community members, local political figures, and members of the press will be attending the rally, which will take place on the steps of City Hall at 1:15 pm on April 14. The Sikh Coalition encourages anyone interested to attend.

      For more information about the rally, contact:
      Neha Singh

      For more information about the Sikh Coalition:

    Preparedness Initiatives

    • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

      • NYDIS's Disaster Spiritual Care and Mental Health Manual

        The NYDIS Manual for New York City Religious Leaders: Spiritual Care and Mental Health for Disaster Response and Recovery is a comprehensive resource tool to enable NYC religious leaders to best serve their congregations and the public as they respond to and recover from disasters. Its 19 chapters were written by 16 disaster mental health and spiritual care experts. Organized in three sections, Preparation & Mitigation, Response & Recovery, and Reference & Resources, the Manual offers an overview of the lifecycle of disasters, discusses the role of faith leaders throughout these phases, and provides information on skill sets, training resources and effective clinical and pastoral best practices.

        Download the Manual:

    • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

      • CDC Enacts Pandemic Flu Simulation Exercises
        In March, the Centers for Disease Control enacted a major pandemic simulation exercise with over 1,000 people at the Director's Emergency Operations Center (DEOC) in Atlanta, GA. Designed to highlight the challenges surrounding local and national response to an emerging epidemic, simulated scenarios included a case when officials in Washington, DC wanted to close schools but did not know what to do about children of homeless parents who relied on schools for child care and lunch programs. Other scenarios considered potential problems that might arise concerning the distribution of the federal supply of antiviral drugs in the case of a pandemic and appropriate ways to screen travelers for illness.

        Read the entire CDC report: click here

      • DHS Report Presents Pandemic Best Practices and Model Protocols
        Intended to help communities plan and prepare for potential pandemics, this free report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlines best practices and model protocols for a number of emergency management services, including emergency medical services, police departments, fire departments, and 911 call centers. While the report discusses the specific situation of a pandemic, the information it presents can be applied to other emergencies such as bioterrorism.

        Read the report:

    We Recommend

    • Read "Spirituality: The DNA of Law Enforcement Practice"

      Featured in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Samuel L. Feemster’s article, “Spirituality: The DNA of Law Enforcement Practice” aims to recognize the connection between spirituality and law enforcement. Feemster outlines why it is important to consider the spiritual needs of law enforcement professionals, who face the evil aspects of human existence each day in the forms of terrorism, murder, school shootings, and other violent crimes. Their work therefore affects their emotions, their values, and their sense of identity and purpose—all aspects of spirituality, which Feemster is careful to distinguish from religion. His ideas are supported by data taken from a survey of law enforcement professionals who reported their experiences of evil, their desire to implement justice, and their sense that their work is more a calling than an occupation.

      Read the article: click here
    • Order CDC's Free 3rd Edition Emergency Law Training CD-ROMs

      The Public Health Law Program of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released version three of its Public Health Emergency Law and Forensic Epidemiology trainings materials on CD-ROM. Developed for people who teach public health preparedness to practitioners, these trainings are useful for the emergency management community that is concerned with public health and pandemic flu preparedness. Public Health Emergency Law aims to build health and emergency management professionals’ understanding of the importance of law in the public health arena. Forensic Epidemiology specifically addresses ways that public health and law enforcement agencies can collaborate in their pandemic influenza preparedness and response.

      To learn more about the courses or to order a free CD-ROM:
    • 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
    • 9/11 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

    • 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.
    • NVOAD, Member Services Manager

      National VOAD is looking for a Member Services Manager who will be responsible for strategic relationship management and quality program implementation for national members and State VOADs. The position similarly will serve as a liaison between State VOADs and the National Office and will provide primary project management for the Annual VOAD Conference.

      For the job description: click here

    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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    Tel: 212.669.6100 Fax: 212.669.6101