Every local body of believers need to have a Disaster Response Plan designed to ensure everyone is cared for during and after a dangerous event.
Not long ago, churches were considered one of the safest places to be. The times in which we live today seem to have brought the world, with all its crime and uncertainty, right into the place we deem most sacred. Churches are also subjected to the force of nature, such as hurricanes, tornados, flooding and earthquakes. Additionally, we are seeing more and more news reports of robbery, theft, and even homicide occurring in places of worship. We would not be good stewards of what God has given us if we do not plan for these events and do everything we can to protect our members and visitors.
Many people think of a church as a safe place where violence and emergencies cannot affect them. However, violence in churches is not a new phenomenon. Acts of violence, fires, tornados, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, affect churches regularly.
With many incidents occurring with little to no warning, it stands to reason that your church should be developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of your congregation, staff, and facilities. Your church can take steps now to plan for potential emergencies through the creation of an emergency operations plan (EOP).
Churches are distinctive settings in that our congregants share a common bond and have a predisposition to volunteer. The demographics of a congregation often mean that children and the elderly are present and many may need assistance.
Is your church prepared for the unthinkable? Are you ready to discuss actions that can be taken before, during, and after an incident to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life? If so, I encourage your church to develop an EOP.
Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. If a disaster occurs in your community, government, local and other disaster-relief organizations will try to help you but you need to be ready as well.
Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three to five days.
This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation. You have a responsibility to protect yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after an event.
Before: Know the risks and danger signs. Purchase insurance, including flood insurance, which is not part of your homeowner’s policy. Develop plans for what to do. Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Volunteer to help others.
During: Put your plan into action. Help others. Follow the advice and guidance of officials in charge of the event.
After: Repair damaged property. Take steps to prevent or reduce future loss.
When disaster strikes many of us feel the urge to GO to the aid of our fellow man. The goal of the Disaster Response Ministries is to prepare a corps of believers to do just that. We are looking to form teams to provide Disaster Relief / Spiritual Care.
Being credentialed to respond to disasters is not something that you should take lightly. We will train you to be Mentally, Emotionally, and Physically prepared, but most importantly we want you to be called by the Holy Spirit to help.
There is something for everyone to do, and we value our prayer partners as important as our responders.
Once you are a Prepared Partner, you can start the training process to join our Disaster Response Team.
Insurance companies, local emergency response officials, the American Red Cross, the local office of Emergency Management (EMA) and the District Director of Disaster Response Ministries will have resources for you to use in developing the plan.