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Planning Overview

NYDIS provides mitigation education and preparedness training to clergy, religious leaders, and houses of worship, as well as member faith communities and faith-based disaster human services agencies to build their capacity to respond to all hazards with skilled spiritual care, emergency relief, and long-term recovery services.

Through faith-based partnerships as well as operational relationships with community-based organizations and government agencies, NYDIS and its members provide preparedness planning, facilitate service coordination, and equip faith communities and their leaders for readiness, response, and recovery. Our goal is to promote personal, congregational, and community resiliency.

Cover Program Profile

Planning Program Profile

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Preparedness Planning

Humanity usually has little or no control over the cause of a disaster. We do, however, have the ability to mitigate its effects through planning, developing practical skills, and partnering with others ahead of time to maximize resiliency and provide effective recovery. NYDIS programs enable our member faith communities, their leaders, and faith-based service agencies to provide for continuity of their human service programs as well as their religious services in the event of a disaster. NYDIS programs also help faith communities build relationships with their neighbors which promote the new levels of understanding and cooperation needed for effective and skilled responses to all hazards.

NYDIS’s Preparedness Planning Initiatives include:

In an emergency, NYDIS activates its member agencies and faith communities to mobilize their resources and volunteers. It also communicates critical information and coordinates the efforts of its members amongst local, state, and federal disaster response agencies.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): NYDIS maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) that defines NYDIS ’s role in disaster planning as well as relief and recovery efforts. Key NYDIS personnel are trained to staff NYDIS’s EOC desk, which centralizes communication between member faith communities and government agencies during a disaster.

HOWCALM® (House of Worship Communitywide Asset and Logistics Management) is NYDIS’s online database that tracks the logistics and resources of over 7,000 houses of worship, religious schools and faith-based human service institutions in NYC. NYDIS coordinates the use of specific types of data with NYC OEM to ensure rapid and accurate allocation of services during disasters. The system’s data enhances the mitigation and planning capacity of NYDIS, OEM, and other partner agencies.
For more information about HOWCALM®: click here

NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers (ERC): ERCs are houses of worship that activate to serve as short-term communication and hospitality centers during an emergency or evacuation. NYDIS trains participating houses of worship and coordinates this program in partnership with NYC OEM.
For more information about Emergency Rest Centers: click here

Corporate Emergency Access System (CEAS): This program, implemented by NYC OEM, provides emergency access into restricted areas for participating organizations and businesses. This allows key NYDIS employees to enter our offices to retrieve essential materials during a disaster.

In partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYDIS is developing a pandemic flu guide for faith communities and houses of worship. The guide will address the practical implications of pandemics on religious worship, rituals and ceremonies, continuity of services, and spiritual care and mental health.

NYDIS assists and educates vulnerable ethnic and religious communities in protecting themselves against bias retaliation in the event of a terrorist attack or other bias incidents. We also educate the general public and coordinate with religious leaders and houses of worship to be voices of calm and reason.

NYDIS helps faith communities organize and train disaster response volunteers and develop congregational disaster plans that address household preparedness, continuity planning, neighborhood and interfaith collaboration, and roles of religious leaders in disaster.

Preparedness opportunities for faith communities:
Consulting Services
Emergency Rest Center Training
STAR NYC Training

Preparedness resources for faith communities:
Disaster Tip Sheets for NYC Religious Leaders
NYDIS Manual for NYC Religious Leaders:
        Spiritual Care and Mental Health for Disaster Response and Recovery


NYDIS maintains both web-based and printed resources to assist the pubic in disaster preparedness and activation.

NYDIS.ORG, a comprehensive website listing many services, planning tools, and resources, including upcoming preparedness events, education and training news, an extensive resource library, and opportunities for online donations.

NYDISnet, a bi-monthly e-newsletter of events, news, preparedness tips and training opportunities which is distributed to over 3,000 subscribers. NYDISNET ALERTS are distributed by NYDIS in an emergency situation to report the most up-to-date critical information needed by religious leaders.

NYDIS Resource Center, a library housed in NYDIS’s offices, contains disaster readiness and response manuals, videos, DVDs, and printed material, including information on other disaster agencies.

NYDIS collaborates with local, state, and national partners to coordinate preparedness education and arrange for additional training opportunities, providing New York City faith communities the very best disaster training possible.

Partner agencies include:
American Red Cross
Church World Service
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN)
The Human Services Council
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
NYC OEM — Ready New York
NYPD Shield
The Salvation Army