iNET - E-Bulletin Board of News & Resources:
October 2017 Issue
Great ShakeOut - Earthquake Preparedness Month
Welcome to iNET, the information network and electronic bulletin board of the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN). This national electronic bulletin board and information resource provides U.S. disaster news, reports on the latest best practices, and information on upcoming conferences and trainings of relevance to disaster interfaiths, spiritual care organizations and their government or NGO partners.

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Upcoming Trainings:

Increasing Religious Literacy & Competency (1 Day)
The NDIN/USC CRCC course "Engaging Faith Communities in Disaster: Increasing Religious Competency and Literacy" is framed by our field-guide set and tip sheets, this one-day field skills course provides an overview of why and how to engage faith communities during disasters and public health emergencies. The 90-minute orientation or one-day training focuses on best practices in working with faith communities in crisis settings, religious competency, and literacy, as well as an over view of current resources and how to databank local faith communities. The course prepares government, VOAD/non-profit and religious leaders, and volunteers to conduct outreach to and engage congregations and religious leaders in partnerships or to support disaster human services/mass care needs of religious populations.
• Lehigh County Emergency Management, PA • November (Invite Only)
Disaster Chaplaincy Certification (2 Days)
This two-day (16-hour) NDIN Disaster Chaplain 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 offered over two days, 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 leaders. Led by a NDIN Instructors, participants learn through lecture and interactive group exercises about disaster response operations, disaster spiritual care, mental health, and self-care. Strategies to promote recovery and resiliency are also covered.
• New York Disaster Interfaith Services: NY, NY • November 28-29 (Register Here)

Seeking Funding: Religious Literacy Primer App for First Responders/VOADs
NDIN is seeking funding to convert our Religious Literacy Primer for crises, disasters, and public health emergencies into a smart phone app for field use. The tool was created in partnership with the University of Southern California Center f or Religion and Civic Culture as an at-a-glance quick reference on 24 of the largest faith traditions in the United States. Using these tools, government, first responders, chaplains and voluntary organizations active in disaster can enhance their religious literacy and competency when conducting faith community engagement, field operations and mass care operations. If you have a donor to refer or are interested in collaborating to produce the App,  email NDIN.

NDIN Offers Consulting & Training for Faith Communities and Partners
NDIN provides consulting and training in disaster human services and faith-based program development to faith communities and faith-based organizations. NDIN also contracts with community-based and government agencies who seek to enhance their mitigation, readiness, response, and recovery capacity in partnership with faith communities. To learn more about our 13 different training courses or areas of expertise in consulting, call us or download our Consulting & Training brochure from the link below.

For more information, contact: (212) 669-6100 or

Download our Consulting & Training Brochure.

Special Notices:

9/11 Health Benefits & Victims’ Compensation Fund
People exposed to the toxins released when the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 can still apply for health benefits. Tens of thousands of workers, volunteers and residents who may be suffering from 9/11-related illnesses have been granted extended deadlines (2016, 2018, or 2020 depending on their situation) to apply for the health care they need and deserve under the World Trade Center Health Program.
For information on deadlines and to apply click here or call 855-4WTC-AID.

Introducing the M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership
Wheaton College Graduate School; The  Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) launched a Master’s program in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership (HDL) at Wheaton College "to prepare the next generation of humanitarian and disaster professionals to lead with faith and humility, utilize evidence-based practice, and serve the most vulnerable and the Church globally." Learn more here.

Louisiana Oil Spill Two Times Bigger Than Original Estimate
October 20: EcoWatch; On Sunday, October 15th, an oil rig, owned and run by the oil and gas company LLOG Exploration Company, LLC, exploded on Lake Pontchartrain, LA, injuring seven crew members, with an eighth missing. The company first reported that the fractured pipeline spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But according to new reports from EcoWatch and Bloomberg, the company may have drastically underestimated the amount of spilled oil. Now, according to a Coast Guard announcement, the company is reporting a discharge of 672,000 gallons - about two times the initial estimate. Read the full article here.

FEMA Releases New National Incident Management System 
October 17:; The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to manage all threats and hazards. FEMA has released a refreshed NIMS to ensure that this important guidance continues to reflect the collective expertise of the whole community. Learn more here.

Houston Officials Let Developers Build Homes Inside Reservoirs. But No One Warned Buyers
October 13: Homeland Security News Wire; When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, TX, the news informed many residents that they were living inside a massive reservoir. The reservoir had been built west of Houston decades ago to protect the city from catastrophic flooding. Residents in those communities must now come to terms with the fact that during heavy rain, their neighborhoods were designed to flood. And no one told them about it. Read the full article here.

Trump Nominates Kirstjen Nielsen For Homeland Security Post
October 10:; President Donald Trump nominated White House Deputy Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security. If confirmed, Nielsen would succeed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who served as head of the Department of Homeland Security for just over six months before replacing Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff July 31st. Read the full press release here.

Outdated and Unreliable: FEMA’s Faulty Flood Maps Put Homeowners at Risk
October 06: Bloomberg; In Hitchcock, Texas, fewer than one in four households had flood insurance when Hurricane Harvey pummeled into the city. Bloomberg News says the low rate of house owners with flood insurance could be explained by outdated FEMA flood maps for the area. "The local flood maps managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency hadn’t been updated since 1983. That made it harder for residents to know if their homes were at risk of flooding." Furthermore, the article criticizes that "even FEMA’s newer maps are likely to fall short as an accurate indicator of flood risk because they don’t account for rapid rain accumulation, how buildings are constructed, climate change or expected population growth, among other things." Read the full article here.

The Biggest Domestic Terrorist Threat to Americans: White American Men
October 04: Homeland Security News Wire; This article argues that while radicalized Islamists and Terrorists pose a threat to the United States, the bigger threat is coming from attackers not (necessarily) inspired by religion: white American men. The article shows that since President Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners. Read the full article here.

Lone-Wolf Killers - What Drives Them?
October 04: Homeland Security News Wire; Lone offenders, sometimes called "lone wolfs," like the single shooter, Stephen Paddock, who killed dozens and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, often seem to leave the public and authorities even more puzzled and surprised than bombings or shootings by organized terrorist groups. This article argues that the reason for this is the uncertainty about the attackers’ motivations. The missing motive behind the actions of lone-wolf attackers like Stephen Paddock or the Orlando nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, not only makes it harder for people to find closure, it also makes it more difficult for the authorities to detect and  prevent such attacks. Read the full article here.

Safe, Strong, and Just Rebuilding After 2017 Hurricanes
October 03:; The 2017 hurricane season will not end until November 30st, but the intensity, number, and destructive impacts of this year’s storms have already broken records. This year was the first year on record in which three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the United States. Combined, the storms have killed approximately 200 people in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As scientists predict that climate change will further amplify these events in the future, this article calls on "all levels of government to take immediate steps to build stronger, more resilient infrastructure and communities and to make smarter and safer decisions about where to build homes and industrial facilities. Every $1 spent on mitigation measures ahead of a disaster saves $4 down the road. " Read the full article here.

America’s Mass Shootings Are Becoming Much More Deadly
October 02: The Washington Post; The mass shooting that  killed at least 50 people in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1st, was the deadliest in American history. Only 16 months after the previous deadliest mass shooting in modern American history: the Orlando Night Club Shooting. The article shows that casualties during shootings are massively increasing, while the time periods between shootings are rapidly decreasing: "While from 1949 to 1991 the increase in the number of deaths was only nine. The shooting at Virginia Tech was more than double that in Camden in 1949. The killings in Orlando added 17 more deaths to the total." The number of lives lost in Las Vegas will be at least twice the toll of the deadliest shooting in history as of 11 years ago. Read the full article here.

NYC 9/11 Fire Commissioner to Lead Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts
October 01: New York Post; Former FDNY commissioner Thomas Von Essen has been named head of the FEMA Region II. As the new leader of the hurricane recovery efforts, Von Essen told The Post "There’s a lot of work to do. I’m excited to go down there to continue the work that they’ve done, that they’ve started." Being appointed a little over a week after Hurricane Maria pounded Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, Von Essen said during the interview how the devastation that the storm left in its wake ultimately made him take the job as the new head of Region II, which also serves New York, New Jersey and the US Virgin Island. "It’s an honor to be asked to come back and work again to help people that really need it, and I’m looking forward to it," he said. "I’ve seen what FEMA can do. I know how they can help people that really need it. My life was the the FDNY, surrounded by people like that who are able to make a different and help strangers and I’m looking forward to making a difference as soon as I can." Read the full article here.

PEW and Fiscally Conservative Groups Urge Stronger Flood Standards For Building
September 25: The PEW Charitable Trusts; Following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, about 30 organizations have urged the Trump administration in an open letter to adopt restrictions on building in dangerous flood zones. The diverse group includes environmental, insurance, architecture, emergency management, engineering, and fiscally conservative organizations. "We ask the administration to lead the nation in rebuilding after Harvey and Irma by ensuring our communities and infrastructure are strong enough to withstand the next big flood, and would welcome the opportunity to work with the administration on such a standard," states the coalition’s  letter. Read the full press release here.

Harvey. Irma. Maria. Why is This Hurricane Season So Bad?
September 23: Washington Post; This hurricane season has generated more destructive, land-falling storms than the past few years combined. Four of this year’s storms went on to become Category 4 or 5, and three of those made landfall in U.S. territory. The U.S. has never been struck by three storms this strong in the same season in the modern record. "This isn’t a random coming together, " said Gerry Bell, a hurricane climate specialist at NOAA. It’s a specific combination of environmental factors. Hurricanes can form in rapid succession and travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic, but this season’s water temperatures and wind directions amplified the negative effects of the storms significantly. "We are seeing some of the hottest ocean temperatures in the planet in the western Caribbean Sea," said Michael Ventrice, a research meteorologist at the Weather Company. "This is like rocket fuel for developing tropical cyclones. A major concern for late-season development." Read the full article here.

Interfaith Matters Podcast: From Foster Care to Activism
September 19:; Onleilove Alston, Executive Director of Faith in New York, an affiliate of the  PICO National Network (People Improving Communities Through Organizing), talks with Interfaith Matters Podcast’s host Maggi Van Dorn about the importance of faith-rooted community organizing and improving life in "The Most Spiritual City in America." During the interview Onleilove, who experienced homelessness as a child explains that " Encountering a God of the orphan and the widow was empowering because I was an orphan.  Reading about a God who preached good news to the poor was good news to me because I was poor.  And I began to think I could do something to change my community and to help other young people like myself." Today, she is a contributing writer and board member of Sojourners magazine, and founder of "Prophetic Whirlwind, " an organization - and forthcoming book - about the Black presence in the Bible. Onleilove will be one of the experts working with faith leaders at ICNY’s upcoming " Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy. " Listen to or download the podcast here.

Faith Groups Provide The Bulk of Disaster Recovery - in Coordination With FEMA
September 10: USA Today; After Hurricane Harvey stormed through Texas and Louisiana, FEMA administrator Brock Long repeatedly asked concerned citizens to go to (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to make donations. The federation network helped FEMA channel disaster assistance into the affected areas. About 75% of NVOAD’s member organizations are faith-based. In a disaster, houses of worship don’t just hold bake sales to raise money or collect clothes to send to survivors; faith-based organizations are integral partners in state and federal disaster response and recovery efforts. They have specific roles and a sophisticated communication and coordination network to avoid duplication of efforts. Read the full article here.

NYC is Denying 9/11 First Responders Disability Pensions
October 02: New York Post; Fire Department paramedics and EMTs who responded to the 9/11 attacks and now suffer from medical illnesses say the city is forgetting about them. According to the New York Post, sick paramedics and EMTs are denied the more lucrative, three-quarters, tax-free disability pensions at a far higher rate than firefighters, New York City Employees Retirement System. "It’s a crime what they’re doing to EMTs and paramedics who got sick. It’s a game of attrition," said Gary Smiley, 53, a retired paramedic with asthma and PTSD, whose disability claim was rejected by NYCERS. "They want you to go away and die." Read the full article here.

Best Intentions: When Disaster Relief Brings Anything But Relief
September 09: CBS News; In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Americans showed their generosity and kindness in form of donated goods and cash. While cash donations are always helpful to rebuild a community after a disaster, donated goods sometimes not only get in the way of the recovery process, but can cause a second disaster. " Generally, after a disaster, people with loving intentions donate things that cannot be used in a disaster response, and in fact may actually be harmful," says Juanita Rilling, former director of the Center for International Disaster Information in Washington, D.C. "And they have no idea that they're doing it." While there are times when giving things works. It is important to keep in mind, that not everything is needed, as Tammy Shapiro, one of the organizers of Occupy Sandy, points out. When Hurricane Sandy destroyed more than 650,000 homes in 2012, Occupy Sandy very quickly "just stopped taking clothes," Shapiro explains. Instead, they created a "relief supply" wedding registry. "We put the items that we needed donated on that registry," said Shapiro. "And then people who wanted to donate could buy the items that were needed. I mean, a lot of what we had on the wedding registry was diapers. They needed flashlights." Disaster response worker Rebecca Gustafson says that while "[m]oney sometimes doesn't feel personal enough for people. […] The reality is, it's one of the most compassionate things that people can do." Read the full article here.


  • QuakeSmart
    The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes maintains QuakeSmart, a website that offers resources on earthquake preparedness for businesses and organizations. Click here to access toolkits, workshops, flashcards, and videos on safety during earthquakes.
  • Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills - Video Series
    Learn how you can stay safe from earthquakes in a variety of situations with these videos from The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: "Drop, Cover and Hold On." The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage communities, schools, or organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space to prevent damage and injuries. Learn more about the Great ShakeOut here. Watch the video series here.

First Responder Wellness

First responders are often exposed to traumatic and high-stress events. The following resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health focus on first responders' specific needs to help them better assess crisis situations and respond in the safest way for all involved. Also included are resources to recognize the signs of traumatic stress caused by responding to disasters, tips for managing stress, and tips for getting back to daily life after a disaster.

  • Hurricane Safety Guide
    To learn more about hurricanes and how you can adequately prepare for its effects, check out this hurricane safety guide. The guide notes that New York is one of the most hurricane-prone states. Read the full guide here.
  • Post-Hurricane Safety Tips
    Learn how to stay safe after a Hurricane with these post- hurricane safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
    • Do not drive through flooded areas and standing water. Turn around, don’t drown!
    • Avoid Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. Keep the generator at least 20 feet outside door/window. Don't grill inside. Fumes can kill.
    • Use bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene.
    • Throw away perishable foods, like meat, seafood, milk, and eggs, that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages or have come in contact with floodwater. 
    • If it’s hot, move to a cool place, take sips of water, and take cool showers.
    • Throw away any drugs that may have been contaminated with floodwater.   
    • If you are pregnant, drink lots of clean water and get plenty of rest-especially when you are sick.
    • Call SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 if you need counseling support. For assistance in Spanish, you can call or text HABLANOS at 1-212-461-4635.

Hurricane Maria caused dangerous and destructive high winds, flooding, heavy rain, and storm surges. Now, people affected by the storm face risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, downed power lines, mold, and other threats. Recovering from hurricanes can be difficult mentally and physically.

For more tips on how you can stay safe after the hurricane visit:

  • Post-Hurricane Diaspora Communications Toolkit
    The CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response team developed a diaspora communications toolkit for people who want to help, or contact loved ones affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The toolkit offers different messages in both English and Spanish you can send via text message, email, or social media. Even if you do not personally know anyone in the affected areas, you can still help spread these important messages. Available in English and Spanish.

Mental Health

  • Disaster Mental Health Study
    In a study titled, "Helping African American Clergy and Churches Address Minority Disaster Mental Health Disparities: Training Needs, Model, and Example," researchers, led by Jamie D. Aten from Wheaton College Illinois, have conducted 41 qualitative interviews with African American clergy one year after Hurricane Katrina in severely affected areas of south Mississippi. These interviews revealed how mental health professionals can work with African American clergy and their churches by providing training that targets minority disaster mental health disparities. Get the study  here.
  • NEW Issue of The Dialogue: Low Socioeconomic Status and Disasters
    A person's socioeconomic status (SES) can shape their everyday life due to factors such as education, occupation, and level of income. Those with low SES have comparatively less access to behavioral health resources and professional treatment in the United States. As a result, these people may be more affected by disasters. This issue of "The Dialogue" from SAMHSA's Disaster Technical Assistance Center highlights how the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program and other disaster behavioral health efforts can best serve those living in low SES communities. Read the issue here.

Slow-Onset Disasters
  • NEW Review of Surge Practices For Slow-Onset Crises
    This report from the "Transforming Surge Capacity Project," examines the challenges of responding to slow-onset events (e.x. refugee crises, drought, or food shortages), and how resources that are normally deployed in surge events might also be used for progressive disasters. The report suggests a variety of ways governments and humanitarian agencies can craft policies that trigger responses to slow-onset disasters and allow surge capability to be used. Read the full report  here.

  • Four Steps to Tornado Preparedness
    The How to Prepare for a Tornado Guide from Prepareathon explains how to protect yourself and outlines the steps you can take now so you can act quickly when a tornado appears.
    Additionally, offers four more tips on how to prepare for a tornado ahead of time:
    • Build an emergency kit
    • Make a family communications plan
    • Sign up for local emergency alerts and warnings. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials
    • Look for danger signs including: dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating); and, a loud roar, similar to a freight train. If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
  • Taking Shelter from the Storm, Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business
    This FEMA Guidehelps home or small business owners assess their extreme winds, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, risk and determine the best type of safe room for their needs. The guide includes safe room designs and shows how to construct a safe room for your home or small business. Design options include safe rooms located inside or outside of a new home or small business. Learn more here.
  • How To Prepare For A Tornado
    If a safe room is not available during severe weather, seek the best available shelter with these tips from America’s PrepareAthon. Read the full guide here.


  • Wildfire Preparedness Video "When the Fire Starts"
    This new animation video from FEMA illustrates what you should do before, during, and after a wildfire. Watch the video here.
  • Guide: How to Prepare for A Wildfire
    This wildfire guide provides information on the basics of wildfires, how to protect yourself and your property from them, and what steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is. Learn more here.
  • America’s PrepareAthon Resource Website
    The PrepareAthon website provides information and different materials and resources to prepare for and learn how to react during a wildfire. Learn more here.

NEW: SAMHSA Knowledge Network
The Knowledge Network provides a single, searchable portal to SAMHSA's publicly available online training and technical assistance content. The goal is to improve the design and delivery of prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The website was built to help health care practitioners find specific tools and resources, such as webinars, white papers, fact sheets, trainings, or videos, more easily. Visit the Knowledge Network here.

How Did Climate Change Affect That Extreme Weather Event?
Using a baking analogy to explain how climate change impacts the quality of the weather, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine created this animated video to provide an entertaining and easy-to-understand overview of the connection between climate and weather.  Watch the video here.

Article: Physically Uninjured - A Survivor’s Perspective
Domestic Preparedness; "A mass casualty incident leaves many victims in its wake. Beyond those who are tragically killed, survivors also suffer from the physical and psychological effects of the incident. Unfortunately, the psychologically injured can sometimes go unnoticed. One survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 recounts her story of survival and her journey back to recovery." Read the full article here.

Book: The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters
BasicBooks; In "The Cure for Catastrophe," global risk expert Robert Muir-Wood argues that our natural disasters are in fact human ones: "We build in the wrong places and in the wrong way, putting brick buildings in earthquake country, timber ones in fire zones, and coastal cities in the paths of hurricanes. We then blindly trust our flood walls and disaster preparations, and when they fail, catastrophes become even more deadly." Learn more about the book here.

65th Annual IAEM Conference
November 10 - 15, 2017
International Association of Emergency Managers
Long Beach, California
Register now

The 65th annual IAEM conference provides an opportunity for all levels of emergency managers to exchange and discuss lessons learned and best practices, and to connect with colleagues from around the world. 

2018 National VOAD Conference
May 7-10, 2018
Providence, RI
2018 Disaster Ministry Conference
June 21 - 23, 2018
Humanitarian Disaster Institute
Naperville, Illinois
Register now

The 2018 Disaster Ministry Conference equips church and lay leaders to serve during disasters domestically and internationally. The event will feature global leaders from the fields of disaster ministry, emergency management, humanitarian aid, public health, and mental health. Participants will gain new knowledge, skills, and networks for effectively leading their congregations in developing disaster ministries.

Department of Homeland Security Counter-IED Training
DHS offers training in recognizing terrorist threats, particularly bomb threats. Among others the training is offered to law enforcement agencies and infrastructure stakeholders. Read more here.

National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC)
The NDPTC develops and delivers training and educational programs related to homeland security and disaster management, with a specific focus on natural hazards, coastal communities, and the special needs and opportunities of islands and territories. The NDPTC actively engages internally with FEMA and the University of Hawai`i, as well as with external partners across the region to integrate the delivery of its trainings, products, and services. For a list of nationwide trainings, click here.


International Assoc. of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
A resource for IAEM members to search for internship and career opportunities in emergency management.
Islamic Relief USA (IR USA)
National Service (CNCS)
NDIN Volunteer Positions
Please contact for more information.

New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS)

NYC DOHMH’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response CPP Sector Coordinator for the Human Services Sector

Welcome to iNET, the e-newsletter of the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN).

During 2017, fourty-six federal Major Disaster Declarations have been declared in twenty states/tribal governments. To date, there have been four declarations in October. One for Flooding in Idaho, one for Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, Flooding, Landslides, And Mudslides in Wisconsin, one for Tropical Storm Harvey in Louisiana, and one for Hurricane Irma in South Carolina.

As always, please keep all communities who are in long-term recovery, and their caregivers, in your prayers - and give generously to National VOAD agencies, established disaster interfaith and long-term recovery committees. Please donate or lend a volunteer hand in recovery efforts; if we can be helpful, contact our office for suggestions or reach out to your National VOAD partners!

If you have questions or comments about iNET, or if you have news that you want to submit for iNET, email us.

Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.