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Disaster/Crisis Response Network


The NYSPA Disaster/Crisis Response Network, which is affiliated with the APA Disaster Response Network, was formed to assist:

A) victims and their families,
B) front-line intervention agencies (rescue, police, fire, etc.), and
C) other secondary victims, as well as the general public, who may be involved in natural, accidental or man-made (war) crises and disasters.


JOIN the Disaster/Crisis Response Network
Click here
for an online application to join the Disaster/Crisis Response Network. PLEASE NOTE if you get a blank white screen after selecting "SAVE" your application we may not have received your information. Please download the printable application and email or fax to NYSPA (contact information is on the form). We are working on this technical issue and apologize for the inconvenience.

Click here for the download-able form that can be emailed or faxed to NYSPA.

Hurricane Sandy Resources

See belowfor FAQs on NYSPA's DRN



Purpose and Services Provided Through the NYSPA Disaster/Crisis Response Network

  1. Education and Training- Dissemination of educational information and strategies to the general public, disaster response agencies and other mental health professionals.

    Information may be conveyed through various forms, such as the media, educational workshops/seminars, and other public forums. We are currently involved in developing an ongoing training and continuing education program in the areas of critical incident stress and post-traumatic stress for the NYSPA Disaster/Crisis Response Network.

  2. Free Short-Term Crisis Counseling- Pro-bono short-term crisis intervention counseling provided by the state-wide network of volunteer licensed psychologists.

    Assistance will be given to individuals and their families who are referred for post-traumatic stress following a disaster or crisis. Counseling will be conducted in the offices of the Network psychologist.

  3. Immediate Intervention and Assistance to Disaster/Crisis Response Agencies and the Public- Volunteer intervention services directly to Disaster/Crisis Response Agencies and the public in the form of education and psychological debriefing techniques immediately following an incident, such as airplane crash, hurricane/tornado, victims of violence, war, etc.

    Since 1990, the NYSPA Disaster/Crisis Response Network has worked closely with the Red Cross and community organizations assisting the service personnel and victims involved in disasters and crises by providing stress management and post-trauma stress education. The Network has assisted in disasters such as derailments, fires, shootings, bus and airplane crashes (TWA 800, US AIR 405), the Persian Gulf crisis, Hurricane Andrew, the World Trade Center bombing, the Great Midwest flood of 1993, the Long Island Railroad shooting, the L.A./Northridge earthquake, NYC subway explosion, Texas floods, California floods, Oklahoma City bombing, the Louisiana and Midwest flooding of 1995, the Long Island/Hamptons wildfires, New York State flooding of 1996, and Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Midwest floods of 1997.


questionsFrequently Asked Questions about the NYSPA DRN

How do I become a member of the DRN?
All NYSPA members are eligible to apply for membership and participation on the DRN committee. You can apply directly online with this link. Once your application information is reviewed you will be notified of the outcome.

How will I know where and when I am needed?
A disaster/crisis generates a need for mental health services in a variety of ways. The NYSPA DRN both receives requests for assistance and proactively offers help in the aftermath of events. One source of requests is the American Red Cross of Greater New York (ARCGNY). The Director of Mental Health, Disaster Planning & Response contacts the DRN directly when there is a need for our services in settings they cover. When a request comes in from the Red Cross or any other source such as an individual, school, or organization, DRN members will be contacted through the DRN listserv or directly through the DRN state or regional coordinator. Specific requirements of the disaster response will be described such as needed hours, specialty, or languages.

How much time do I have to give to DRN work?
Participation is completely voluntary. We appreciate that NYSPA members have a variety of personal and professional commitments that they must honor thus do not always have as much time as they might like to contribute. It is entirely up to the DRN member to decide how much time to give to DRN activities – it may be a few hours or many hours and can vary through the course of a particular disaster, Of course, each disaster is different and, in some cases, may have minimum time commitment requirements such as eight hour shifts, more than one day a week over a specified period of time, or a one time assignment.

Do I have to be a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer as well?
DRN members are not required to be Red Cross trained or approved volunteers. The Red Cross trains and approves its own disaster mental health volunteers. DRN members may be part of the Red Cross team and system as well as any number of other organizations or professional groups that provide disaster assistance.We are fortunate to have a partnership with the ARCGNY which enables NYSPA to send DRN members to disaster/crisis related activities covered by the Red Cross. Therefore, to be involved in a Red Cross initiated volunteer activity the psychologist need not have Red Cross volunteer status but must be approved by the DRN. This allows the Red Cross and the DRN to assure the public that certain criteria and standards have been met.

What do DRN members do?
DRN members are called upon to provide a range of services. Typically it is important to understand that DRN work is different than ongoing treatment. In the beginning days and weeks of a disaster/crisis the human service needs are often focused on basic survival, safety, and physical needs. These issues can certainly take an emotional toll on individuals – both those who were directly involved and exposed to the disaster as well as those who are helping. All volunteer workers at this stage, including psychologists, may be providing support in the form of very basic human and necessary activities. The range of work to alleviate suffering can include everything from providing a listening ear to helping get food to survivors. This has sometimes been called providing “psychological first aid.” DRN members may also be asked to provide crisis counseling to groups, for example in schools or at businesses. Lastly, DRN members have also provided up to three pro bono counseling sessions in DRN members’ offices in line with DRN guidelines. The sessions can be invaluable as a way to assess an individual’s need for services, can be helpful as a short term intervention, or can be seen as providing the first step towards helping someone access longer term help.

What kind of training is necessary to become a DRN member?
NYSPA does not provide any specific DRN training at the current time. However, DRN committee members should have specific training and/or experience in disaster/crisis related management and intervention. The DRN committee continually reviews the application procedures and membership criteria.

What else can I do to prepare for DRN work?
As recommended for all psychologists working in a specific area, it is important to stay up to date on the latest issues and interventions related to disaster mental health counseling and treatment.In addition, DRN workers should be familiar with, and seek information about, the particular culture, customs, rituals, and religious practices of the individuals they are helping.