Web Resources

History is a Great Teacher
The story of Washington, IL, and Bethany Community Church is a reminder of the care and compassion that faith-based organizations can provide all survivors in times of disaster. Their story reinforces the power of a whole community, “survivor centric” approach and the important role and responsibility of faith leaders in preparing their communities before disasters strike. Please click here to read their story.

From FEMA: September 11, 2015
Recent and tragic events have heightened our awareness that houses of worship are not immune from disasters and emergencies. Faith leaders representing many traditions are concerned for the safety of their congregants as they gather to observe their traditions. We are also concerned.

In addition to partnering with your local first responders and emergency managers, please feel welcome to use the resources on our web page. The information, there, provides specific and actionable steps you can take today. These resources can help you prepare your house of worship for disasters and emergencies, and implement practices that will mitigate their damage. This includes an active shooter event. There is, of course, no way to guarantee complete safety. But there are ways to decrease risks and increase safety.

This new web page complements ongoing efforts to encourage partnership between faith leaders and local first responders via the “Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship”. Available since 2013, this guide is designed to be scalable for use by small to large-sized houses of worship in order to help navigate the planning process for emergencies. The guide is also available at the same web page, fema.gov/protecting-houses-worship.

I encourage you to take advantage of these resources. If you do not find what you are looking for, or if you have questions about the information contained within the various links, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at partnerships@fema.dhs.gov.


Rev. David L. Myers
Director, Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  1. How a Low-Income San Francisco Neighborhood Is Building a Culture of Disaster Preparedness
    Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco, CA is an example of a grassroots disaster preparedness effort.
  2. Asian American Justice Center—Emergency Preparedness http://www.advancingequality.org/emergency_preparedness/ The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) works to promote equal rights for Asian Americans. The emergency preparedness section of the AAJC website contains links to emergency planning resources for professionals and the public. Materials for the public are available in Vietnamese and include information about emergency planning and accessing disaster benefit programs.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Emergency Preparedness and Response http://www.bt.cdc.gov/ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Preparedness and Response website has information and resources on bioterrorism, chemical and radiation emergencies, mass casualties, natural disasters, and outbreaks. Translated versions of the website are available in Chinese, Tagalog, French, German, Russian, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Target audiences include individuals, families and communities.
  4. FEMA—Other Languages http://www.fema.gov/media/resources/languages.shtm This multilingual webpage provides access to FEMA publications for professionals and the public about disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation information in Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, Greek, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Available publications include flyers, brochures, tri-folds, press releases and public service announcements.
  5. Medical Reserve Corps—Training Finder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network (TRAIN) https://www.mrc.train.org/DesktopShell.aspx?tabid=1 TrainingFinder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network (TRAIN) provides a database of searchable courses offered by participating TRAIN affiliate sites. The courses are designed for public health professionals and include working with different cultures during disaster response.
  6. National Association of Hispanic Firefighters http://www.nahf.org/ The National Association of Hispanic Firefighters (NAHF) works to improve the safety of the Hispanic community by developing and conducting several fire prevention and safety programs. One of these educational programs, Mis Primeros Pasos (Learn Not to Burn), is for preschoolers and teaches eight key fire safety behaviors. Included with the program are lesson plans and a teacher's guide. The NAHF site also offers a link to a self-study language training course for firefighters and EMS personnel to learn the basics of Spanish.
  7. National Congress of American Indians—Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness http://www.ncai.org/Homeland_Security_Emergency.35.0.html The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) serves as a major national tribal organization and monitors federal decisions that affect tribal government interests. One goal of the organization is to ensure that tribal governments are included in the planning and implementation of federal homeland security measures. This webpage provides links to emergency management and homeland security-related news articles and documents. The NCAI also provides a course that provides tribal leaders with the knowledge needed to develop and implement comprehensive emergency management systems.
  8. National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities http://www.diversitypreparedness.org/ The National Resource Center (NRC) was developed by the Drexel University School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equality, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. The National Resource Center website serves as a clearinghouse of resources and information to assist in the preparedness of racially and ethnically diverse communities.
  9. Office of Minority Health—H1N1 Influenza-Get Ready! http://www.omhrc.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=192 This Office of Minority Health (OMH) website provides H1N1 influenza information in a variety of foreign languages such as: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. The site includes a basic fact sheet in several languages, titled “Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs.
  10. Refugee Health Information Network http://www.rhin.org/health_info.aspx The Refugee Health Information Network provides resources to health professionals who are caring for resettled refugees. The site includes a searchable database of print, audio, and video health resources available in a variety of foreign languages. Some materials in the database focus on preparedness and disaster planning.
  11. Tulsa Citizen Corps Council—Language and Culture Bank http://www.tulsapartners.org/LCB/ The Tulsa Language and Culture Bank (LCB) provides volunteers with foreign language and cross cultural communication skills needed to work with the community on emergency preparedness planning, disaster response, and public health and public safety.
  12. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0829.shtm The mission of the center is to build resilient communities among faith-based and community organizations. In collaboration with federal, state and local partners, the Center supports the Department's strategy of sustainable risk management by building capacity and resiliency among faith-based and community organizations.


  1. American Red Cross—Prepare.org—Disaster Preparedness Publications http://www.prepare.org/ The American Red Cross has made many of their disaster preparedness publications available in variety of languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Russian, and Vietnamese. Disaster planning publications are for a variety of audiences (children, seniors, families) and cover a wide range of natural and man-made disasters.
  2. Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations – Emergency Preparedness: A Compendium Highlighting Preparedness, Response, and Recovery in Disasters Affecting Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities http://www.aapcho.org/altruesite/files/aapcho/EP/EP_Compendium.pdf The purpose of this compendium is to highlight the successes of Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Health Centers during emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The compendium includes case studies of successful programs to show the challenges they encountered and to share lessons that can be learned from these events.
  3. Association of State and Territorial Health Officials—At-Risk Populations and Pandemic Influenza: Planning Guidance for State, Territorial, Tribal, and Local Health Departments http://astho.org/Programs/Infectious-Disease/At-Risk-Populations/At-Risk-Population-Planning-Guidance/ This Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) publication provides guidance for state, territorial, tribal, and local health departments to help them provide support to at-risk populations in an influenza pandemic. At-risk populations include individuals who might need additional response assistance, including those from diverse cultures who have limited English proficiency, or are non-English speaking. The guide explains the procedures that should be arranged prior to an event to ensure the health and safety of these groups.
  4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Public Health Workbook to Define, Locate and Reach Special, Vulnerable, and At-Risk Populations in an Emergency http://www.bt.cdc.gov/workbook/pdf/ph_workbookFINAL.pdf This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) workbook provides state, local, and tribal planners with guidance to better reach special populations before and during a crisis or emergency situation. The workbook explains ways to locate special populations in the community and gain cultural competence and community engagement skills.
  5. Faith-Based and Community Organizations’ Participation in Emergency Preparedness and Response Activities https://www.ihssnc.org/portals/0/IHSS_DeskStudyFinalReport_3-16-10.pdf This research was sponsored by the DHS Center for Faith and Community Initiatives and provides insights on the strengths and weaknesses of voluntary and community organizations supporting disasters.
  6. Heralding Unheard Voices: The Role of Faith-Based Organizations and Nongovernmental Organizations During Disaster http://homelandsecurity.tamu.edu/framework/threats/natural-disasters/heralding-unheard-voices-the-role-of-faith-based-organizations-and-nongovernmental-organizations-during-disasters.html/This research was sponsored by the DHS Center for Faith and Community Initiatives and offers a look into the successes and challenges of faith-based and voluntary efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
  7. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development — Helping Children Cope with Crisis: A Guide for African American Parents http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/cope_with_crisis_book/index.cfm This brochure provides African-American parents with age-appropriate activities and ideas for providing comfort and a sense of safety for children affected by a crisis.
  8. National Sheriffs’ Association—Watch Out, Help Out your Community: Neighborhood Watch Resources for Native American Communities http://www.usaonwatch.org/assets/publications/TribalNWBrochure.pdf This guide explains the history, purpose, and steps needed to create an effective neighborhood watch program. It addresses issues unique to Native American communities such as obstacles faced due to the physical size of Native American reservations, the minimal resources available to Tribal law enforcement agencies, and the importance of including Native American spiritual traditions in the program.
  9. NICOS Chinese Health Coalition—Fast Facts for Disaster Preparedness and Response http://www.nicoschc.org/FastFacts10.16.08FINAL.pdf This resource guide, available in English and Chinese, provides the public with information about where to go, how to prepare, what to do, and where to call during an emergency. The guide, created specifically for the San Francisco Bay Area, includes national and local contact information as well as general disaster preparedness tips.
  10. Tomás Rivera Policy Institute and Asian Pacific American Legal Center—Disaster Preparedness in Urban Immigrant Communities: Lessons Learned from Recent Catastrophic Events and Their Relevance to Latino and Asian Communities in Southern California http://demographics.apalc.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/disaster-report_final.pdf This study develops policy recommendations for local emergency response personnel as well as city, county, state, and federal officials. The information provided improves dissemination of emergency information and delivery of services to immigrant communities.
  11. Cultural Competency in Disaster Response: A Review of Current Concepts, Policies, and Practices http://www.ahrq.gov/research/cultural.htm This document is the final report for the Cultural Competence Research Agenda project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to examine how cultural competence affects health care delivery and health outcomes.