Six members of the Diocese of Southern Ohio recently traveled to Sewanee, TN to attend a two or three day seminar on disaster recovery. There were several important things that we learned that have a direct impact on us, as members of the diocese.
There are many areas within the diocese that are potential areas of natural and manmade disasters. It is better to be prepared than to have to scramble in a disaster to collect the needed items and contact the appropriate resources.
[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”mission-pullq-right”]During these times of increased climate fluctuation and world unrest, we, as individuals and congregations would be wise to be prepared. We cannot serve our world in chaos without first planning, preparing and praying.[/su_pullquote]
Most people don’t realize that the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) must have at least 72 hours to respond to a disaster. That means that we all (both individuals and churches) need to be prepared with enough supplies to get through at least those three days.
You cannot take care of your church during a disaster unless YOU are prepared for the disaster!
Are you ready?
Just as a disaster preparedness plan is essential for organizations, it is just also crucial for families and individuals. Every member of the family should know what must be done and their individual responsibilities in case of a disaster. Each member of a family unit should know:
- Telephone numbers (cell and landlines) of someone outside the disaster area
- Telephone numbers of family members
- How to text
- Agreed upon meeting place if separated
- Telephone numbers of all members of the family unit (laminated card is a good way to keep this information)
- Local individual in responsibilities as defined in a disaster plan
- Where the emergency supplies are located and who is responsible for obtaining them
FEMA and the Red Cross have identified the following supplies needed for each man, woman and child for the first three days:
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]1 gallon of water
Non-breakable water pouch
9 MRE (meals ready to eat) for each person
9 MRE side dishes
9 MRE heater packets
High calorie food bars
9 sets of disposable utensils
Disposable toothbrush, toothpaste
1 bar soap
1 package of tissue
Hairbrush and comb
1 roll toilet paper
Feminine sanitary supplies
Body lotion[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Alcohol-free hand sanitizer
Mylar emergency blanket
Change of clothes
Extra pair of sturdy shoes
1 box waterproof matches
Whistle on lanyard
List of contact numbers
Extra set of house and car keys
Special items for infants, elderly, disabled
journal and pencils
Family information (birthdate, unique identification marks, serial numbers of medical devices)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]First Aid Kit
1 large backpack
Battery-powered radio or NOA weather radio
Flashlight and extra batteries
Credit card and cash
Glasses and sunglasses
Additional items for clergy may include:
Priest or Deacon Stole
Bible/Book of Common Prayer
Stocked Communion Kit
Book of prayers
Dickie collar[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text](MREs are available at sporting goods store, army/navy surplus and some box stores. If buying dehydrated food include additional water to rehydrate.)
Additional information can be found at:
Contingency planning for your church
Several years ago each congregation was requested by the diocese to develop a disaster contingency plan in case of natural or man-made disasters. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) offer training in disaster planning and disaster recovery. There are currently four trained disaster chaplains in our diocese.
There are several good sources for information of what should be in the church’s plan, but here are some items to be considered:
Contact Lists (name, email, home and cell phone)
- Contact list of public services (police, fire, city officials, utilities)
- Contact list for insurance agencies, local emergency services and Red Cross
- Contact list for diocesan Disaster Relief Coordinator (Chris Kelsen)
- Contact list for trained disaster chaplains (the Revs. Leslie Fleming, Eric Miller, Deniray Mueller and Judy Wiley)
- Contact list of key parish personnel (clergy, wardens, sextons)
- Contact list of ecumenical/interreligious partners in area
- Contact list of parish disaster leadership team
- Backup of computer systems
- Offsite storage of critical records (property assets, insurance policies, financial records)
- Updated list of parish members
- Potential temporary site of operations
- Alternative worship space
- Temporary use of office space
- Access to banking services
- Relocation of nursery, pre-school facilities
- If operating a feeding program, where will these people receive food?
- Substitute facility for regular worship services (another church, school, store front)
- Contact lists for prayer circles/chains
- Contact list of community volunteer organizations (Habitat for Humanity, service corps)
- Oversight of reclamation of building
- Payment of salaries, insurance (if not able to continue services)
- Recovering structural facilities
- Certification of occupancy after recovery
Episcopal Relief & Development has a program that assists congregations in developing a disaster contingency plans as well as seminars on disaster preparedness and recovery. Resources can be found at www.episcopalrelief.org/resourcelibrary. Ohio VOAD resources can be found at www.ohvoad.communityos.org.
During these times of increased climate fluctuation and world unrest, we, as individuals and congregations would be wise to be prepared. We cannot serve our world in chaos without first planning, preparing and praying.
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The Rev. Deniray Mueller serves as the legislative liaison for the Diocese of Southern Ohio and is a trained disaster chaplain. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.