Security/Emergency Information

Nonprofit Grant? Get started now, webinar next week

Posted on March 17, 2017

NSGP 2017

The timing of the 2017 applications is still up in the air. We won’t be able to determine the due date for the applications until the US Department of Homeland Security posts its guidance. They will only do so once there is a federal budget.

We don’t anticipate any significant changes in the application process and most of the requirements of the application process can be met before the deadline. Our advice is to get started now! Here’s what you can do.

Webinar Our annual webinar will be
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 12:30-1:30 PM
No RSVP required; click here to join when webinar begins.
Prequalification NY nonprofits should register at https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/ &
complete their Document Vault . See JCRC-NY’s additional information at: http://www.jcrcny.org/document-vault-faqs/ .If your nonprofit was previously prequalified, you will still have to update certain documents or your document vault is expired. Check our your document vault for more information.
E-Grant registration If you have an existing account (and remember the
username/password), you’re fine; to register for the DHSES E-Grant system, email: grants@dhses.ny.gov
Risk assessment Find guidance and contacts at:
http://www.jcrcny.org/security-assessment/ and JCRC-NY’s guide to security consultants here.There are some self-assessment tools available. Check out:

Investment Justification The 2017 forms are not ready. Download the 2016 Investment Justification here to see what the applications looks like.
For the most up-to-date info http://www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants

Bomb scares: learn more

Posted on March 10, 2017

As the threats seem to multiply, people are growing frustrated that the threats continue. Watch NYPD’s John Miller’s update on the investigation on CBS This Morning (March 9, 2017).

Posted in Bomb, NYPD

So when is the NSGP grant be coming out?

Short answer, we don’t know. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security cannot formally announce any grant program before there is a federal budget and Congress gave itself up to April 28, 2017 to come to an agreement. Both the House and the Senate included the program in their appropriations, but they must still work out the funding level of the program (We want it raised to $25 million.). It could be that the grant deadline is only days, rather than weeks, after the grant announcement, so get started now! 

We don’t expect many changes in the application process this year. Our best advice, complete all of the preliminary steps below and a draft of your application (known as the “Investment Justification” or “IJ”) as soon as possible. If there are any changes, you will be able to concentrate on the changes.

One final piece of advice. If you think that your organization is at high risk because of ideology-based/spiritual/religious reasons, think about how you would document them, especially if you follow mission implementing policies or practices that may elevate your risk. If you are a religious corporation, the answer is clear. If not, there may be an opportunity to document the risk.

NSGP 2017

Prequalification NY nonprofits should register at https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/ &
complete their Document Vault . See JCRC-NY’s additional
information at: http://www.jcrcny.org/document-vault-faqs/ .If your nonprofit was previously prequalified, you will still have to update certain documents or your document vault is expired. Check our your document vault for more information.
E-Grant registration If you have an existing account (and remember the
username/password), you’re fine; to register for the DHSES E-Grant system, email: grants@dhses.ny.gov
Risk assessment Find guidance and contacts at:
http://www.jcrcny.org/security-assessment/ and JCRC-NY’s guide to security consultants here.There are some self-assessment tools available. Check out:

Investment Justification The 2017 forms are not ready. Download the 2016 Investment Justification here to see what the applications looks like. Just make sure that the
For the most up-to-date info http://www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants
Questions? Click here to send questions about the grant program.

To evacuate or not to evacuate? That is the question.

With over 150 hoax bomb threats reported, you should have already have a plan. However, the ongoing threats should serve as a reminder to review  our ongoing guidance, make use of the resources and implement the recommendations, as appropriate.

Should we be worried? At this time the experts conclude that the series of
incidents referencing threats against schools, Jewish facilities and businesses likely do not represent a credible terrorist threat for two reasons:

  1. terrorists’ rarely provide operational insight into their planning, and
  2. the fact that nearly all hoaxes in the United States are conducted by criminal actors or those instigating a nuisance prank.

What are my options? Many security experts question the wisdom of the policy of evacuation. After all, a terrorist could trigger an evacuation of a facility with a simple phone call and then attack the evacuees in multiple ways. On the other hand, someone could place 100 hoax bomb threat calls, but actually plant a bomb on the 101st. (In rebuttal, why make a warning phone call when simply planting the bomb works).

The bottom line is that there is no perfect solution, so all institutions should think about their options and consult with local law enforcement in the absence of the pressure of an actual emergency.

  • Set up a meeting with your local police to review and discuss your options.
  • There is no perfect solution. This is an issue that should be raised at a security committee or board meeting. Remember, your reputation is at stake and your decision may create liability issues.
  • Identify possible options leading to a sheltered evacuation, i.e., one that minimizes the dangers of an attack on evacuees:
    • Is your parking lot a relatively safe area? Could you evacuate there and stand an appropriate distance from your facility? Is there a sheltered path to an adjoining building? Can the local police establish a perimeter to protect the evacuees?
    • Develop appropriate protective measures based on your facility’s characteristics. For example, some facility managers have identified areas (e.g., a pool or gym) that are not cluttered and therefore, easy to check for bombs. If the architecture of the building is engineered so that the building would not likely collapse on those inside, one option is to evacuate people to these safe (or more accurately, safer) places (HT to Steve Levy of ISA).
  • Communicate, early and often. If you decide not to evacuate, some stakeholders will question your judgement and try to second-guess you. A well-planned sheltered evacuation option is easy to explain and to show that your highest priority is the safety of your stakeholders. Whatever you choose, have pre-written messages ready to go should you become a target.

No one can give you a perfect answer. Identify your options, consult with the best people possible and keep your people safe.

Hoax threats can be scary, too.

Should we be worried? At this time the experts conclude that the series of incidents referencing threats against schools, Jewish facilities and businesses likely do not represent a credible terrorist threat for two reasons:

  1. terrorists’ rarely provide operational insight into their planning, and
  2. the fact that nearly all hoaxes in the United States are conducted by criminal actors or those instigating a nuisance prank.

Due to the common occurrence of bomb threats across the country over the last few years, the experts judge malicious terrorism hoaxes such as bogus emails and phoned-in threats, including robo-calls, will almost certainly continue, diverting resources as they create disturbances and send false alarms. However, don’t become blasé. Someone might take advantage of the hoaxes to accomplish a real attack.


What should we be doing? Consider these incidents to be a teaching moment. How would your organization handle such threats.

  1. Know what you should do. Have a bomb threat plan before an incident happens.  For starters, check out DHS’ Bomb Threat Guidance and Introduction to Bomb Threat Management. Add JCRC-NY’s post, Manhattan bomb threat: lessons learned to your reading list. Now is a good time to review, or to think through your own plans. Our own Emergency Planning: Disaster and Crisis Response Systems for Jewish Organizations has a longer chapter discussing the issue.
  2. Train your phone answerers. Everyone answering the phone (including those who might answer) should be taught how to handle a phone threat with this checklist. Have copies of the bomb threat checklist posted nearby.
  3. You have to communicate.
    • First things first. Call 911. Bring in the cavalry…ASAP. Whether you think the incident is real or a hoax, contact the experts and defer to them. Have a system (with primary and backup callers) that ensures that someone calls 911 immediately. Remember, don’t use a cell phone or walkie-talkie in the area of a suspicious package … you might set it off. Get to your landline.
    • Get the word out. Even if your people know what to do (i.e., you’ve conducted bomb scare drills) you have to let them know that they have to do it. Does your building have a public address system? Do you have cell phone numbers for all of your staff so that you can text them with updates? Can you modify your fire alarm system so that it sounds a distinctive signal for a bomb scare?
    • Let your constituencies know what’s happening. Bomb scares create angst and the possibility of physical danger, but there is the potential for risk to your reputation. No one wants a parent to learn about an incident from the media. Have pre-written messages ready for distribution directly to your constituencies (e.g., by text) stressing the steps you’ve taken and that everyone is safe. Have a point of assembly where worried parents can go for additional information from your best staffers. Work with the police to direct people to the appropriate areas. Do not post specifics on social media.  Click here for resources on crisis communication.
  4. Decisions, decisions. Have someone in charge (and a backup). OK, you receive a threat, now what? Certainly, dial 911, but should you evacuate or not (might someone use a bomb threat in order to trigger an evacuation setting up an active shooter or vehicle ramming?)? In reality there is no perfect answer to this question. Someone has to give the order and there will be no time to waste.
  5. Know where to go. If you decide to evacuate out of an abundance of caution you probably don’t want to stand in the street, especially if the weather is bad. Do you have an agreement with a neighboring institution that allows you to bring people into their facility. By doing so you can keep your people warm and dry and out of harms way.
  6. Keep unused parts of your building locked. It’s good practice to have your staff check your facilities daily, looking for something that “Just Doesn’t Look Right”. As they move through the rooms they should lock the doors. Closets and other storage areas should be kept locked. If you develop such procedures and do receive a bomb threat, the bomb sweep of your building can be accomplished faster.
  7. Consult your leadership about security plans. There will always be Monday morning quarterbacks, but a review of your plans at the Board level should empower those making difficult decisions under duress. As they say, “once is not enough.” Revisit security planning and procedures on a regular basis.

How can we know if the threat is real? The intelligence firm, Stratfor, recently published an article: How to distinguish a bomb threat from a bomb warning. The experts suggest some other possible indicators of a hoax:

  • Most genuine bombers wouldn’t specify the exact timing and target of an attack (since providing that information would jeopardize the success of an event);
  • Most genuine bombers wouldn’t use threats with complex scenarios involving chemical weapons or other advanced capabilities, or cite geographically dispersed targets; and
  • Most genuine bombers wouldn’t use threats involving large numbers of operatives.

Remember, there are no guarantees in security. You will have to weigh the options and make the best decisions possible. If you’ve thought about the options and have made decisions ahead of time, the odds of making the right decision increase dramatically.