In light of recent events involving natural disasters, it’s important to ensure that your church is prepared for a state of emergency. Often, churches are seen as a beacon of hope for those who are seeking shelter from natural disasters and other emergency events. Here are ways that your church can be ready to help the community and the congregation:
Have a Plan
First and foremost, discuss and agree upon an emergency plan with other church leaders. Having a plan is the first step to successfully sheltering people during an emergency. Part of that plan can be sharing literature and resources from FEMA about how to prepare and helping create a family directory to help those who are staying in the church find out where displaced family members may be.
Churches often have access to space that normal homes do not. Here, water, rations, and medical supplies can be stored. This is an excellent opportunity to work with the community to have fundraisers for supplies before an emergency happens. Consider a supply drive or a training event in which the entrance fee is a canned food or a gallon of purified water.
Conduct classes at the church that focus on emergency preparedness, such as performing CPR or first aid. Because natural disasters are often marked with slower response times as first responders handle the sharp rise in emergencies, it would be beneficial to have volunteers, both from the community and from your fellowship, that are trained in basic medical care.
Incorporate Emergency Shelter Space
If you haven’t already considered it, think about preparing a space where cots and sleeping bags can be quickly and efficiently be set up for those using the church as a shelter. This could happen by incorporating roll-away pews in the chapel or partitions in the offices and classrooms. It is also possible to partner with Red Cross by reporting how much shelter space you have.