NOVA first developed a community crisis response plan in the mid-1980s in the aftermath of the community-wide crisis experienced after the St. Helens volcanic eruptions in Washington State. The model was created applying NOVA’s demonstrated expertise in providing direct services to individuals who experienced the emotional impact of crime victimization, then scaling those principles of crisis intervention to large groups of people under the unique premise of mediating the traumatic impact of the shared experience. The NOVA Community Crisis Response Model was first officially applied in 1986 after the post office shooting in Edmond, Oklahoma in which twenty co-workers were shot, fourteen fatally, before the shooter committed suicide. At the request of the Oklahoma Attorney General, NOVA deployed it first Crisis Response Team to assist in stabilizing the community.
The first NOVA Basic Community Crisis Response Team training was held in 1989, utilizing the first edition of the NOVA CRT Manual, now in its fourth edition. To date, over 10,000 professionals nationwide have been trained on the NOVA Community Crisis Response Model. NOVA has served as the leader in community crisis response for nearly 30 years and has worked cooperatively with other emergency responders such as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF).
In the almost three decades of deploying crisis response teams to communities in need, NOVA has sent teams to communities all over the United States. Perhaps the largest and longest response was to the sites of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In all, over 600 NOVA-trained Crisis Responders continued to deliver educational and emotional first aid for almost a year after the attacks on 9-11. Tragically, the escalation of mass casualties and natural disaster dominates the news cycles. Most recently, NOVA-trained crisis responders delivered services to victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murders, the Virginia Tech mass murders, the Pulse Nightclub mass murders in Orlando, Florida, the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Irma, and victims and survivors of the shooting in Las Vegas. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings, given the tremendous geographic diversity of the victims, their families and survivors, NOVA launched its first ever virtual educational crisis response webinar, broadcast free nationwide to those victims in continued crisis and trauma as a result of the shooting.