Preparing and Assessing Strategically for Community Crisis
Ginger Bankston Bailey, Lori Gerber  -  2013/9/4
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
How does one highlight the need for a community to include victim advocacy groups in their emergency preparedness plans?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 One thing that is important is to explain what a victim advocate does. Providing information and letting them know that Victim Advocates are great responders and how well they are trained in trauma.
 
2.  Ginger
 I think the LEPC will help you move towards victim advocacy in emergency planning. I wish you the best.
 
3.  Lori Gerber
 Setting up appointments with your local hospitals, City Managers, Police Chief Association is a good start to explain Victim Advocacy groups and how they can help with victims and families that will make their responsibilities easier. Having a relationship with your community leaders is an important
 
4.  E Quinn
 Thank you! The info on getting in with the LEPC is really helpful and I will definitely strive to do that.
 
5.  E Quinn
 Thank you for your response! I talked with the emergency preparedness person for our county this summer and he was a great resource, but there was really no mention of including victim advocates in their preparedness plan. I know that some issues include being in shelters with potential abusers, experiencing crime at the shelters themselves (though our county does have a separate shelter for registered sex offenders)and just dealing with flashbacks that might be triggered by a crisis event so to me it makes perfect sense...but I'm wondering if you know of any articles or anything that I could use to help open this conversation more?
 
6.  Ginger
 Each county throughout the country has a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Meetings may occur monthly or quarterly. Larger jurisdictions may have a LEPC on the municipal level. Their primary role is to anticipate a disaster/incident and plan the initial response. LEPCs are tasked with identifying (1) potential hazards and (2) available resources. Victim advocates are an important resource during a crisis. Often when a non-criminal disaster occurs, emergency managers may not realize the increase risks for some victims and survivors - domestic violence, child abuse - to name a few. Your presence at LEPC meetings aids in the education of the whole community response. For more information on LEPCs, contact your state/local office of emergency management.
 
7.  Ginger
 What can you do? (1) Develop information that outlines your crisis response resources along with your contact information. Utilize social media and your website for educational purposes. (2) Distribute the list of emergency response resources to key emergency stakeholders. If possible, schedule a meeting. (3) Determine if there is an existing Task Force or committee that addresses emergency planning in your area. If so, check to see if you or a representative from victim advocacy can be part of the group. (4) Ask emergency response agencies about their training opportunities and participate when appropriate. (5) Learn about Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC).
 
8.  Ginger
 Since September is National Preparedness Month, this would be an excellent time to focus on the connection between victim advocacy and emergency planning and preparedness. Victim advocates have a unique perspective into the severity and magnitude of victim’s needs. There is no discipline better prepared to integrate into the overall community response. You have the opportunity to act as a liaison to emergency response organizations and give voice to the needs of the victims/survivors. Often this is eye opening to those tasked with emergency response. One of the most important preparedness strategies is to know your state and/or county office of emergency management and your local first responder community before a community crisis occurs.
 
 
what are the key elements and personnel needed to help victims and family members.
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 Be careful not to step on anyone's toes. Always remember the key element is information and safety. Whatever a team can do to help, guide and focus together with all agencies on site. It is important not to re-traumatize. Everyone is experiencing the stress and have responsibilities on a scene (crime related, nature related). I will always remember how important it is on scene to do what I can to advocate on behalf of victims but to be able to work in the elements that do not step in other boundaries.
 
2.  Lori Gerber
 When you look at key elements in helping victims and families in a community response always remember that they are experience normal responses. Explaining the trauma process and knowing they are safe and there is support is key. They are not alone.
 
3.  Ginger
 Incident Command Training. Do you know the terminology used during a community crisis response? Learn more about Incident Command and other emergency response topics through FEMA Emergency Management Institute. This is a no cost online training online. In addition, ask your state or county office of emergency management to provide an educational overview of Incident Command. http://training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.aspx There are many topics listed under EMI that are helpful.
 
4.  Colleen
 What specialized training elements do you recommend for members of a CRT and what agencies or individuals are your recommended "go to" for training?
 
5.  Ginger
 Key elements: Crisis Response = Emergency Management Training. Organize training with representatives from state and local emergency services agencies. The more comprehensive information about resources, the more you can help victims and family members.
 
6.  Ginger
 This may be useful if you need more information on SWOT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis
 
7.  Ginger
 First look at personnel: Look at your agency's internal and external capabilities during a community crisis response. Utilize a SWOT analysis. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Assess staff and volunteers specific skill set – before – during – after the crisis event. Assign tasks based on the assessment. Develop “Job Task Sheets” for quick reference when a crisis response plan is activated. Maintain a “Quick Reference Guide” to be used during a community crisis. So many crisis plans sit on the shelf because they are lengthy and not user friendly. A quick reference guide that is less than 10 pages ( preferably 5 pages or less) will be easier to use.
 
 
Any suggestions on how to begin a response team, who should be included and how do we get others to recognize the good we can do in working together?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 Another key element is that you always want to be invited back.
 
2.  Lori Gerber
 To begin crisis response teams there are several elements. The first thing to do is ask who is willing to participate and make the commitment to respond. Training, training, training
 
3.  Ginger
 Multi-disciplinary teams seem to work well. Besides victim advocates, look at representatives from law enforcement, fire, EMTs, clergy, chaplains, educators (management/teachers/school nurses), healthcare, government agencies and businesses. Let your LEPC know that you are starting your team. (see LEPC information from earlier post). I wish you the best. Response teams are needed!
 
 
Crisis in small communities can have big impact. How is this type of crisis similar or different from tragedies with large numbers of people in large cities?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 Crisis in small or large communities have the same dificulties and responses. Resources are imperative no matter what the crisis can be. Having a team small or large will impact in a positive manner.
 
2.  Ginger
 I am looking through a victim advocate's eyes - thus they are similar to me. Larger communities will have readily available resources. Smaller communities may have to wait, but the resources will come. They may not be onsite.
 
 
We have 38 homicide in the year of 2013, can we call this a community crisis? If yes, then what we need to do to bring down homicide rate in the city?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 It is also important to know if the homicides have to with domestic violence. If so, contact your local domestic violence center.
 
2.  Lori Gerber
 As a victim Advocate this can be called a community crisis. It would be important to put together a team of advocates from different resources to look at what has lead up to the homicide and study what is needed in the community regarding safety as well as community tools. You can also call upon your coalition.
 
3.  prit kaur
 Law enforcement agencies are collaborating with the religious organizations to develop some strategies to combat crime.
 
4.  Ginger
 As victim advocates, we would view this as a community crisis. Do you know what existing committees/ task forces that may be in place to work on reducing the number of homicides?
 
 
We are exploring the development of, and statewide coordination of crisis advocacy services for addressing mass victimization. What are the key things we should be considering?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 Florida has a great team. Contact Florida's governors office and speak with Cheryl Riccardi. She is a good resource to have.,
 
2.  D S Halley
 Thanks. I have already done so--just trying to gather as much info as I can, so anything else I should consider would be appreciated.
 
3.  Lori Gerber
 Congratulations that is great that you are moving forward. Please take a look at NOVA's (National Organization of Victim Service) website. They have some great tools.
 
4.  D S Halley
 Thank you. Are there any states in particular--perhaps the top 5 you would suggest we contact?
 
5.  Ginger
 Links: OVC has a great resource page (Newtown, Connecticut) that can assist with strategic planning. http://www.ovc.gov/newtown_tragedy.html Other OVC resources OVC: Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery http://www.ovc.gov/publications/infores/cat_hndbk/NCJ190249.pdf Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services: Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Training Manual http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/topic.aspx?topicid=1
 
6.  Ginger
 Congratulations on moving forward to a statewide coordinated effort. Suggestion: Bring the key crisis response/emergency management/first responder community together with victim advocates. This would assist with identifying not only your needs, but gaps in services along with perceptions. Victim advocacy is often an overlooked resource. Look at other programs around the national that have been successful. I will include some links that may be helpful.
 
 
Communities have to respond to different types of crises from mass violence events to natural disasters. What are the main differences in preparing a response plan?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 Your response plan of your team will depend on what the community leaders are looking for as well as looking at who invites you to the guide and follow a crisis plan. Working together, planning together, focusing together, and being cooperative and side by side as a team is the first step in responding
 
2.  Ginger
 The main difference to me is that one happens by nature and the other is by human(s)/human-made. Both are extremely traumatizing, but the grief process is different. With mass violence there are so many unanswered questions.
 
 
What is the best format when it comes to dealing with ongoing trauma exposure to workers?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 You can also work with local mental health workers who have expertise in trauma and having a relationship with mental health providers can guide individuals after a debriefing. It helps to put a list together of community resources.
 
2.  Lori Gerber
 You can look at having debriefing with workers and putting a team together who is trained on Crisis response and trauma. It is a good tool to have law enforcement, fire personnel as well as advocates to be trained in trauma and crisis response sp that they can work together in setting up debriefings. There are several organizations (Police debriefings, NOVA and OVC) that have the tools for trainings
 
3.  Ginger
 One other suggestion: Victim advocates need interventions/debriefings not only in the time of a crisis, but also during their daily work. Some agencies have quarterly sessions where people can talk. It helps!
 
4.  Ginger
 One way that seems to be helpful is making sure that workers in our profession realize that we need to receive help too. Suggestion: Before a crisis, let everyone know that "care for the caregiver sessions/interventions" will be provided. Provide staff training in emergency preparedness that combines physical and emotional effects of disaster. As victim advocates, we are busy taking care of others - not ourselves. Make sure that your emergency protocol factors in "care for the caregivers" so that burnout doesn't occur! Your agency will need to decide whether these sessions/intervention are mandated or voluntary.
 
 
What resiliency suggestions do you have for individuals after a crisis has occurred?
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 To let them know you and the team are available. It is important for victims to have a sense of compassion and a sense that they are not alone. Having the time to speak to someone privately and also have questions before hand can help also.
 
2.  Ginger
 American Psychological Association: Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/mass-shooting.aspx American Psychological Association: Anxiety and Sadness May Increase on Anniversary of the Traumatic Event http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/anniversary.aspx I have listed additional resources in earlier posts that may be helpful too. They are from OVC.
 
3.  Ginger
 For you staff: You may want to view an earlier questions that also mentions “care for the caregivers”. It is beneficial to have a protocol in place where employees know that their emotional and physical needs are important. Each agency needs to consider types of solutions – flexible time schedules, vacation, exercise programs and crisis interventions. Often sessions that go over lessons learned act as interventions too. I will include some links for you.
 
 
In preparing for a community crisis, what should a city focus on versus a rural neighborhood? I imagine a response plan would greatly differ!
 
1.  Lori Gerber
 .Rural communities are very different then large cities. Resources are the main differences. Rural communities have minimal resources. Contacting Law Enforcement and Victim Advocates are a great start. This is a tool for both large and small. Be prepared to sit down and listen to how it has been done in the past and what has been learned and what is needed. Know your audience!!
 
2.  Ginger
 Some emergency plans are online. Try that first. This is an overall great website in case you need it! http://www.ready.gov/ http://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/org/ncp/coop_multi_year_plan_guide.pdf
 
3.  Ginger
 Yes they can be different. First contact your county office of emergency management and look at their disaster plan. They will have a detailed response plan. As you are planning for your agency or team, you can take this information and customize for your needs. Educators have comprehensive plans that identify community resources too. I will send some links for you.
 
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