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updated: 10/30/2012 12:21 PM

Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Co-Sponsor Training November 7

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LaTonya Taylor

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College (HDI) will sponsor a training and workshop session titled "Faithful Readiness: Preparing to Respond…Preparing to Recover" on Wednesday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The training will take place in Barrows Auditorium, located in the east wing of the Billy Graham Center at 500 College Avenue in Wheaton.

The training session is co-sponsored with the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V and state and local representatives from northeastern Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. The training is focused on faith-based and community leaders and preparedness experts and practitioners. It supports an effort by the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to help people prepare for emergencies.

Those who complete the training can earn certificates in Emergency Preparedness Fundamentals and Community Preparedness from FEMA's Emergency Management Institute.

According to a recent FEMA survey, nearly half of the population expects their neighbors to help them through the first 72 hours of a disaster. People often turn to local houses of worship for assistance following disasters.

Dr. Jamie Aten, co-director of HDI, says emergency preparedness enables churches to meet the needs of their communities following disasters. "Our main goal for this workshop is to help equip congregations to better prepare for potential disasters, and ultimately, to foster greater community resilience," he says.

Aten says training topics will include best practices in faith and community engagement, including practical steps to help organizations learn how to serve as a disaster shelter, and how to connect with resources and develop partnerships before and after disasters. Participants will also learn about activities and initiatives to help educate church members about basic preparedness and teach them how to help neighbors in an emergency.

The event is free to the public. To register, visit the website of the American Red Cross. For more information, please contact Yvette Alexander ( or Marcus Coleman (

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College is the first faith-based academic disaster research center in the country, and one of the few disaster or humanitarian centers in the Midwest. More information about the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is available at