On May 18, 1980, the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State destroyed 150 square miles of forest, killed 68 people, and resulted in damages of more than $1.8 million in property and crops. At the time, I held the volunteer post of President of the National Organization for Victim Assistance and had law offices in Wilsonville, Oregon. I had listed NOVA's name and telephone number in the local Yellow Pages. Much to my amazement, I received a flurry of telephone calls from victims and survivors of the disaster, all asking for help in the aftermath of the eruption. It was at that time that I began to consider the possibility of a national response to community-wide tragedy. But that idea and ensuing discussions with NOVA Board members resulted in little more than fantasy planning for a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience.

In the fall of 1981, when I moved to Washington, D.C., to become NOVA's Executive Director, the focus of our organization was firmly on the victims and survivors of crime. Still, our mission statement encouraged us to respond to victims of other "stark misfortunes," and we were intermittently attentive to individual survivors of the Kansas City Hyatt skywalk disaster (1981), the Air Florida airplane crash in Washington, D.C. (1982), the shooting down of South Korean Flight 007 (1983), the earthquake in Mexico City (1985), and the U.S. Army jetliner crash in Gander, Newfoundland (1985). However, it was not until August 20, 1986, that our mission of responding to all victims of trauma concretely addressed a community as a whole.

On that day, minutes after Patrick Sherrill killed 14 co-workers and himself in the Edmond, Oklahoma, post office, that state's attorney general, Michael C. Turpen, called NOVA to request assistance in dealing with the trauma that was paralyzing the city. Using the skeleton plan devised in 1980, NOVA responded within twenty-four hours with a team of seven experienced crisis intervenors. It was that response that was the genesis of NOVA's National Crisis Response Team initiative. By January, 1987, NOVA, with the help of an advisory group composed of Dr. Michael Mantel, Dr. Tom Williams and Dr. Lawrence Bergmann, we had translated that team's observations and knowledge into the first forty-hour training curriculum for community crisis response.

Since then, NOVA has presented over 150 training seminars on the subject and sent over 100 teams to various sites of communities in crisis in the aftermath of mass murders, serial murders, hostage-takings, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, airplane and train crashes, and so forth. The most extensive team response was to the Oklahoma City bombing (1995). The one involving the most immediate human devastation was the Kobe, Japan, earthquake (1995). The most unusual was a succession of team responses to survivors and refugees of the war in ex-Yugoslavia (1993-1996). In all of its efforts, NOVA has been continually grateful for the energy and dedication of its nationwide team of volunteers who have graduated from the training program documented in this curriculum.

In 1994, NOVA published its second manual on "Responding to Communities in Crisis" to accompany NOVA's National Crisis Response Team Training Institute, which had served as the training center for our Crisis Response Team volunteers. In 1995, the Office for Victims of Crime provided funding to NOVA to use that manual with supplemental materials for a series of regional trainings replicating the National Crisis Response Training Institutes. In 1996, OVC continued that funding for further regional trainings and to allow NOVA to update the basic manual. This volume is the product of that effort.

Cheryl Guidry Tyiska provided ideas and advice on the content of this revision based on her extensive knowledge as NOVA's Director of Victim Services, her experience on many Crisis Response Teams, and her role as lead trainer on NOVA's crisis response training seminars. The manual has also benefited from the contributions of NOVA's crisis response advisory committee consisting of: Jeannette Adkins (OH), Aurelia Sands Belle (NC), Pam Blackwell (MD), Claude Chemtob, Ed.D. (HI), Rev. A. Robert Denton, Ph.D. (OH), Susan Flannigan (MD), CDR Michael P. Dinneen, M.D., Ph.D. (MD), John Ganz, Ph.D. (WA), Barbara Jones (NC), Annette Murphy (OK), Lt. Edward Nekel (NJ), Scott Poland, Ph.D. (TX), Robert Pynoos, M.D. (CA), Elizabeth Rossman (FL), Bradley Stein, M.D. (CA), Kate Stetzner (MT), Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. (MA), and Marleen Wong (CA).

NOVA is grateful to Aileen Adams, former Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, and Reginald Robinson, her successor, for the opportunity to continue this important work. Special thanks are also due to the two OVC project monitors who have assisted NOVA since 1995 in its crisis response efforts: David Osborne and Timothy Johnson.

As always, a debt of appreciation is due to John Stein, NOVA's Deputy Director _ he is our resident editor and perhaps our finest victim advocate and crisis responder.

Marlene A. Young
May, 1998

The National Community Crisis Response Standard Training Agenda

Day One
8:30 - 9:30 Introductions
9:30 - 10:30
Orientation on Crisis Response Teams
. Videotape (The Killeen, Texas, Massacre)
. Exercise: diagramming the disaster
10:30 - 11:30
The trauma experience _ basic crisis reactions
. The trauma schema
. Adaptive capacities of individual response
11:30 - 12:30 Dimensions of emotions
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 Processing of trauma through memory
3:00 - 4:30
Acute stress factors
. Perception of threat
. Perception of what and how the crisis occurred
. Perception of proximity
. Length of time of exposure
. Sensorial experiences
. Interpretations of what happened
4:30 - 5:15
Long-term stress reactions
. Post-traumatic Stress reactions
. Acute stress reactions
. Adjustment Disorder
. Depression
. Diagnosis of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)
. Biological models of PTSD
5:15 - 5:30
Summary of purposes of training
. Review of training goals and CRT goals
. Videotape ("From Victim to Survivor")
Day Two
8:30 - 11:30
Death and dying
. Videotape ("No One Dies Alone")
. Fears and anxieties about death
. Death and loss
. The grieving process
. Normal bereavement
. Traumatic bereavement
. Hints for helping
11:30 - 12:30
Crisis intervention and death notification
. Purpose and value of crisis intervention
. Elements of crisis intervention
. Safety and security
. Ventilation and validation
. Prediction and preparation
. Techniques of death notification
. Hints for helping
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:30 Crisis intervention and death notification (cont.)
2:30 - 4:30
The continuum of age
. Child reactions to trauma
. Hints for helping
. Elder reactions to trauma
. Hints for helping
4:30 - 5:30
Cultural perspectives
. Understanding cultural diversity: an exercise
. Trauma and culture
. Cultural narcissism as an inhibitor to understanding other cultures
. Action planning for working in a cross-cultural perspective
. Hints for helping
Day Three
8:30 - 9:30 Cultural perspectives (cont.)
9:30 - 10:30
Post-trauma counseling
. Purpose of PTC for crisis responders
. Elements of post-trauma counseling
. Education and energy
. Rehearsal, reassurance, and referral
. Advocacy and activism
. Therapeutic interventions
. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
. Traumatic incident reduction
. Visual kinesthetic dissociation
. Hints for helping
10:30 - 11:30
Spiritual dimensions in crisis
. Why spiritual issues are important
. Guiding spiritual discussions
. Hints for helping
11:30 - 12:30
Group crisis intervention skills
. Goals of group interventions
. Comparative basic models
. Description of NOVA's Model
. Modified Models for Different Cases
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:30 Group crisis intervention skills (cont.)
2:30 - 4:30
Coordinating a Community Crisis Response Team
. Goals of CRT
. Planning for a CRT
. On-scene response process
. Post-crisis follow-up
. Working with the media
4:30 - 5:30 Videotape: "Oklahoma City: One Year Later"
Day Four
8:30 - 10:30
Simulated group crisis intervention
. Purposes of the simulation
. Simulation activity
. Post-simulation discussion
10:30 - 12:30
Case study presentations
. Purpose of the presentations
. Presentations and critiques
. Lessons learned
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 5:30 Case study presentations
Day Five
8:30 - 12:30
Practice group crisis intervention
. Purposes of the practice sessions
. Group practice sessions and critiques
. Lessons learned
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 Practice group crisis intervention (cont.)
3:30 - 5:30
Stress reactions of Caregivers
. Theories of stress reactions
. Burn-out
. Countertransference and vicarious victimization
. "Compassion Fatigue"
. Counstructivist self-development changes
. Mitigation of stress reactions
. Useful coping strategies
5:30 Graduation

© 1987, 1994, 1998 by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, Washington, D.C.

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