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iNET - National Disaster Interfaiths Network
September 2017 Issue
National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month
NYC Faith Sector Resilience Resources Issue

This issue offers information, resources and training links to assist New York City religious leaders, congregations, faith communities, and our partners to build disaster resilient whole communities. These tools will help lay and ordained religious leaders prepare for and respond to all hazards - including public health emergencies. National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder to take action to prepare, plan and practice throughout the year, for the types of crises that will affect us in the boroughs and neighborhoods where we live, work, learn and worship.

BE A READYCongregationSM                                                               BE A READYFaithCommunitySM

Religious leaders are among the first and most trusted sources of risk-communication and crisis leadership; not only in houses of worship and faith communities, but in the neighborhoods and communities they serve. They have a central role both when disasters strike and in recovery. These resources offer current and emergency news, updates on best practices, current resources, and conference/training information.

HOWalerttm – NYC House of Worship Alert System (FREE)
HOWalert (House of Worship Alert) is an emergency communication tool designed for NYC religious leaders and faith sector decision makers from Congregations, Religious Bodies, and Faith-based Nonprofits. During times of emergencies and crises, HOWalert sends religiously sensitive information that integrates public health practices with ritual worship, pr actices, and gatherings. Communication is sent via text message and/or e-mail to those who have registered. Registration for HOWalert is free of charge. Register here.





NYDISnet & NYDIS ALERTS E-newsletters
Our free monthly e-newsletter for New York City religious leaders and faith community partners.

    1. NYDISnet is an e-newsletter that covers regional and national faith community news, advocacy issues, as well as news and developments in disaster resiliency, response and recovery efforts. It shares best practices, the latest resources, and training opportunities.
    2. NYDISnet ALERTS are e-news bulletins notifying New York City faith communities, religious leaders, and faith community partners about actions they should take in response to regional public health crises, emergencies, or disasters. NYDISnet ALERTS include headlines or new resources of immediate significance.
The HOWCALM® (House of Worship Communitywide Asset and Logistics Management) system is a secure, user-friendly, web-based management tool that identifies and inventories the physical assets, programmatic resources, and skilled volunteers that houses of worship, faith communities, and emergency managers can activate and deploy in case of disaster. Register here.

NYDIS: Disaster Tip Sheets for NYC Religious Leaders (FREE)
These 15 Tip Sheets offer best practices and resources to assist religious leaders and congregations as they prepare to serve and respond in effective, inclusive, and compassionate ways.
1. Disaster Basics for Faith Communities
2. The Role of Faith Communities in Disasters
3. The Disaster Lifecycle: Where Do Religious Leaders Fit In?
4. Faith Communities & Evacuation Planning
5. Faith Communities & Disaster Sheltering
6. How to Use Your House of Worship in a Disaster
7. Faith Communities & Disaster Volunteerism
8. Faith Communities & Donations Management
9. Continuity of Operations Planning: Ministry & Services Post-Disaster
10. Disaster Spiritual Care
11. Self-Care for Religious Leaders
12. Faith Communities & Disaster Mental Health
13. Trauma Resilience and Harm Reduction in the Community
14. Disaster Backlash: Bias Crimes & Mitigation
15. National Faith-Based Disaster Service Organizations












Handbooks: Volunteer Group Housing Program (FREE)
NYDIS manages city-wide volunteer group housing during large-scale relief an recovery efforts. NYDIS offers both a Host Site Manual and a Volunteer Group Leader Manual. The Host Site Handbook and the Housing Form-Set provide host site and volunteers with all the information (e.g. disaster history, area specifics, packing list etc.) they need to know before arriving and while deployed. The Volunteer Group Leader Manual gives volunteer groups and their leaders a comprehensive introduction to living in and managing a volunteer group site and offers valuable information on volunteer housing for any volunteer group now deploying in the U.S. or its territories.

  1. Host Site Handbook
  2. Writing a Host Site Handbook
  3. Volunteer Group Handbook
  4. Volunteer Group Housing Form-Set

Manual: Spiritual Care and Mental Health for Disaster Response and Recovery
NYDIS Manual for NYC Religious Leaders: Spiritual Care and Mental Health for Disaster Response and Recovery is a comprehensive resource tool that enables 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.


Community Outreach & Training
NYDIS offers mitigation education and preparedness training for religious and faith communities. By training religious leaders from all faiths in disaster readiness, NYDIS helps ensure that all New Yorkers have access to knowledgeable, culturally sensitive, disaster-trained leaders who can assist them through the different phases of the disaster lifecycle.
Training Brochure & Overview

Disaster Chaplain & Spiritual Care Worker Training
NYDIS, in partnership with the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN), trains and credentials faith leaders, spiritual care providers, and institutional chaplains to volunteer as disaster chaplains or spiritual care workers in mass-care settings, or to serve their house of worship or local community during times of crisis.
Training Brochure & Overview

  1. Disaster Chaplain Training
    This two-day (16-hour) training course prepares chaplains and credentialed religious leaders to provide spiritual and emotional care during deployment to disaster sites as well as within their own communities. The course comprises four 4-hour sessions covering disaster operations, disaster spiritual care, disaster mental health, and self-care for caregivers. Each registrant must be endorsed for this training and/or currently serve as a professional chaplain and/or credentialed religious leader. (Prerequisite: FEMA IS 100 - an online course on the Incident Command System)
  1. Disaster Spiritual Care Worker
    This (4-hour) course prepares lay leaders and caregivers to provide basic spiritual and emotional care during deployment in emergency settings such as mass-care facilities, evacuation centers, and Point of Distribution (POD) sites, as well as within their own house of worship or religious institution. Designed as a half-day or evening session, this training provides a basic introduction to Disaster Spiritual Care, Disaster Mental Health, and Self-Care, in an interactive format. Each registrant must be endorsed for this training and/or currently serve as a professional chaplain and/or credentialed religious leader. (Prerequisite: FEMA IS 100 - an online course on the Incident Command System.)

Emergency Rest Center Training 
The Emergency Rest Center management training instructs staff and volunteers from houses of worship in how to self-activate as an Emergency Rest Center (ERC). ERC's offer hospitality, risk communication and safe haven to the public during emergencies or mass evacuations. When taught in collaboration with a local office of emergency management, this course can also help develop a network of houses of worship which coordinate services with government, VOAD, or non-profit human services providers.
Training Brochure & Overview

Mental Health First Aid Certification for Faith Communities
In partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYDIS and The Salvation Army Greater New York Division offer free one-day Mental Health First Aid for NYC Faith communities trainings.

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program which introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds an understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course, which uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis, select interventions, and provide initial help. For further information visit: www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org

Please contact info@nydis.orgfor dates and rates
National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Trainings via NYDIS

NYDIS’ partners from the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) to provide additional trainings.

Cultural and Religious Literacy & Competency in Crisis Settings
These workshops and trainings are framed by our field-guide set and tip sheets. They provide an overview of why and how to engage faith communities during disasters and public health emergencies. The training focuses on best practices in working with faith communities or religious individuals in crisis settings, religious competency, and literacy. For more advanced practitioners, we offer a module in how to asset map and/or databank faith communities and their assets.

  • Please contact info@nydis.orgfor dates and rates
  • Training Brochure & Overview
  • Religious Literacy & Competency in Crisis Settings Trainings (Emotional & Spiritual Caregivers): Offers an analysis of and orientation to the religion and religious populations in the United States. The course also instructs participants in disaster lifecycle services, the National Response Framework and National VOAD best practices. Participants explore the role of faith communities during crises, disasters and public health emergencies – how religious literacy informs mass care/feeding, medical needs, case work and rebuild. The course offers tools (tip sheets & a field guide set) and foundational skills to competently provide spiritual care in the field - to persons of all faiths or none.

Training Formats Available:
• Workshop: 45 or 90 Minutes
• Basic Principles Workshop: 4 Hours
• Training for Field Work: 8 Hours

  • Engaging Faith Communities: Religious Literacy & Competency in Crisis Settings Trainings (First Responders & Emergency Managers): Provides an overview of why and how to engage and work with faith communities during crises, disasters, and public health emergencies. The modules demonstrate how diverse religious and cultural practice increases partner capabilities and builds whole community resilience. The course offers tools (tip sheets & a field guide set) and foundational skills to competently engage religious leaders and congregations in the field.

Training Formats Available:
• Workshop: 45 or 90 Minutes
• Basic Principles Workshop: 4 Hours
• Training for Field Work: 8 Hours

A portion of the material within these courses was developed for the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) through a collaborative training partnership between FEMA's Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, DHS Science & Technology Resilient Systems Division, DHS' National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at the University of Southern California (USC), USC CCRC, and NDIN.

Disaster Basics & Resources for Religious Leaders explores disaster resilience in a half or full-day training "Managing in Chaos: Serving in Disaster" based on, up to, 26 all-hazards tip sheets for religious leaders. (Overview)

Trauma Awareness & Resilience offers a series of experiential trainings based on STAR NYC (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) trainings and seminarsSeminars focus on the impact of trauma and its role in cycles of victimhood and violence in the aftermath of a disaster. (Overview)

National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Resources

Since 2011, NDIN and the USC Center for Religion & Civic Culture have partnered on a wide variety of research, resource development, and training projects – all directed at building the disaster preparedness, response, and recovery capacity and resilience of faith communities and their non-profit or government partners. These resources include:

Religious Competency Tip Sheets for Sheltering & Mass Care (FREE)
The guidelines in this Tip Sheet set are designed to inform religious literacy, cultural competency, and reasonable religious accommodation mandates for U.S. Mass Care providers, and to assist staff and volunteers in competently meeting the needs of minority faith communities during disaster response or recovery operations - whether at a government or private shelter, or a shelter in a house of worship or other religious facility.

In 2014, NDIN and USC CRCC signed a "Collaboration Agreement" with the national American Red Cross to co-brand this Tip Sheet Set. The collaboration allowed for the wider distribution of these tools through our nation's leading Mass Care provider and its many chapters, partners, and volunteers.

1. Competency Guidelines: Sheltering & Mass Care for Buddhists
2. Competency Guidelines: Sheltering & Mass Care for Hindus
3. Competency Guidelines: Sheltering & Mass Care for Jews
4. Competency Guidelines: Sheltering & Mass Care for Muslims
5. Competency Guidelines: Sheltering & Mass Care for Sikhs

Tip Sheet: Creating an Engagement Plan and Strategy (FREE) 
Each disaster may affect a number of different faith communities; each with its own history, challenges, goals, capabilities, and resources. Understanding who you want to reach, their role, and what capabilities and resources they may have will help you design an appropriate plan. Religious hierarchies or interfaith coalitions/networks can serve as force amplifiers for spreading a message much more quickly, effectively, and appropriately than knocking on doors of individual houses of worship. To that end, we have designed the LEADER process.

Religious Literacy Primer & Field Guide Set
Two companion resources tools, a Field Guide and a Religious Literacy Primer for Crises, Disasters, and Public Health Emergencies are a must for all emergency managers, disaster mental and public health providers and disaster human services personnel or volunteers. The Field Guide is a how-to resource for engagement and partnerships, while its companion Religious Literacy Primer is an at-a-glance quick reference on twenty-four of the largest faith traditions in the United States. NDIN and USC CRCC offer classroom trainings on these resources to government, VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and non-profit organizations seeking to enhance their religious literacy, competency, and ability to engage faith communities as partners.

Working with U.S. Faith Communities During Crises, Disasters, and Public Health Emergencies: A Field Guide for Engagement, Partnerships, and Religious Competency is a guide for engaging and building sustainable and competent partnerships with faith communities throughout the entire disaster lifecycle.

To Download PDF:
High Resolution -  Low Resolution -  Web Resolution
The Religious Literacy Primer for Crises, Disasters, and Public Health Emergencies is a quick-reference tool providing at-a-glance information on basic religious literacy for 24 of the largest religious communities in the United States.

To Download PDF:
High Resolution -  Low Resolution -  Web Resolution

Active Shooter

Arson Prevention

Crisis and Emergency Risk Communications

Disaster Response and Management

Safety Preparedness Webinars, Toolkits and Resources




People of faith, congregations, and faith-based organizations provide essential relief and recovery functions after disasters. Therefore, it is essential for secular entities, as well as government personnel and institutions, to understand the potential contributions and unique needs of America’s faith communities. The course and tip sheets below were written for FEMA by NDIN and USC CRCC.

IS-505: Religious & Cultural Literacy & Competency in Disaster
Religious and cultural communities are part of the whole community, and the DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships works to form partnerships between the Federal Government and faith-based and neighborhood organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need.

As part of this effort, in partnership with the University of Southern California Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorist Events (CREATE), this course and its companion tip sheet resources have been developed with the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) and the National Disaster Interfaiths Network. Also, FEMA personnel assisted in the development of the course by providing their relevant expertise responding to disasters. The course provides emergency management professionals and faith and community leaders active in disaster with the religious literacy and competency tools needed to learn how to effectively engage religious and cultural groups and their leaders throughout the disaster lifecycle.

FEMA Tip Sheet: Faith Community Engagement Resources & Tools
Building religious literacy and competency is an ongoing process, with a wealth of both self-directed study resources and classroom trainings available. A good starting point is taking a religious literacy self-assessment. From there proceed with self-directed study with a focus on the religious traditions you may work with or care for in crisis settings. These educational resources and field tools are a great starting point. There is also a list of smartphone apps available for use in the field when scheduling meetings and for locating culturally-appropriate food vendors.

FEMA Tip Sheets: Faith Community Engagement Guidelines
The following tip sheets cover foundational information to help emergency management professionals interact with a variety of religious groups. Much of the information also can help students, researchers, government agencies, non-profits, and businesses learn about and develop relationships with communities.

  • Engagement Guidelines: Index
  • Engagement Guidelines: Buddhist Leaders
  • Engagement Guidelines: Christian Leaders
    • Black Church Protestant Leaders
    • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) Leaders
    • Evangelical Megachurch Leaders
    • Latino Protestant Leaders
    • Orthodox Christian Leaders
    • Protestant Leaders
    • Roman Catholic Leaders
  • Engagement Guidelines: Hindu Leaders
  • Engagement Guidelines: Jewish Leaders
  • Engagement Guidelines: Muslim Leaders
  • Engagement Guidelines: Sikh Leaders

FEMA Tip Sheet: Engaging Culturally Diverse Communities
Cultural competence is the appropriate level of knowledge-based skills of individuals or organizations required to provide effective engagement and disaster human services to impacted individuals from a particular cultural group (e.g., racial or ethnic).

Agencies Providing Resources & Support


Emergency Operations Planning Resources:

  • FEMA EMI Courses
    The primary audience for the Independent Study Program is national emergency response and recovery personnel of the United States, as well as emergency management personnel of FEMA, and US citizens.

Free Online Courses:

Writing and Testing Your Hazard Specific Plans
The following resources are designed to provide you with an approach to test and think through how you will respond to a natural or man-made emergency or disaster.

  • Class visits: Bring your students to experience the 9/11 galleries and to meet in person with a guide who will share their personal 9/11 story and then engage in dialogue to answer their questions.
  • Multimedia classroom toolkit: The toolkit provides eight deeply moving and inspiring stories of people who strengthened their communities in response to 9/11.
  • Teacher’s Guide: The museum offers distance learning sessions, including materials and teacher’s guides for schools that are too far away to make the trip to NYC.
  • Teaching 9/11: This website features videos in which teachers talk about how and why they integrate 9/11 into a variety of subject areas and where they also share their lesson plans.
  • Annual Teachers Awards: For the past ten years, the museum has convened an annual 9/11 Tribute Teacher Awards. Each year the museum selects up to ten teachers and holds an awards ceremony in February to celebrate their work.

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