Prepare for Hurricane Season
Hurricanes can be devastating. High winds can send debris flying through windows and can bring intense flooding, even to inland areas. The time to prepare your ministry to withstand a hurricane is now, not after a watch or warning has been posted.
Develop an Emergency Plan
When a storm approaches, following an emergency plan that you have developed in advance will help you respond in an organized, efficient way. Here are several tips to consider when creating an emergency response plan:
- Keep your emergency supplies (food, water, first aid) well stocked.
- Fill your church vehicle’s fuel tank in case of an evacuation.
- Listen to your local authorities for updates on the storm.
Be sure that you can take important documents (financial papers or congregational information) with you in case of an evacuation. Back up critical data to an external hard drive or to a cloud-based storage system.
If you can’t evacuate before the storm arrives, put documents in a waterproof container and store them on the highest floor of your building. If possible, move expensive electrical equipment to a higher level of your building to protect them from floodwater. Always remember that your safety—and the safety of your congregation—are more important than your equipment.
To learn more about forming an emergency response plan, read Create an Emergency Response Plan for Your Church.
Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
Equip your ministry with emergency supplies in case of a power outage—or if the community’s water and food supply is contaminated with floodwater. Consider including these items in your emergency supply kit:
- Non-perishable foods (canned meats, juices, and vegetables; high energy foods; nuts)
- Water stored in a clean plastic container (2-liter bottles are suggested; do not store in cardboard containers or milk jugs as they can provide an environment for bacterial growth)
- NOAA weather radio
- An ample supply of batteries
- Fire extinguisher
- Personal hygiene products
- Warm bedding, sleeping bags, and extra clothing
Learn more about building a basic kit at Ready.gov.
Prepare Your Building
Look into repairs and upgrades that can prevent or reduce damage to your building. First, make sure your building meets current local building codes. You and the members of your congregation may be able to do much of the work, but keep in mind that some projects likely will require professional help. There are several things you can do around your facility to avoid damage:
- Replace gravel or rock landscaping with shredded bark, which is much less likely to damage your property.
- Anchor your building’s roof to the walls using hurricane straps. If your windows break during a hurricane, this will help keep the roof from being lifted off by the wind pressure that enters the building.
- Trim trees and shrubbery. This will reduce the chance that a branch could become a projectile or fall on your building.
- Install storm shutters on your windows and glass doors. A less expensive option is to use ¾ inch thick plywood that you can put up when a watch is posted.
- When a watch is posted, move any outside furniture or equipment indoors.