With this season's severe winter weather events, many congregations may open their doors at a moment's notice to shelter those fleeing from the storm. Many more will scramble to react, unprepared for this ministry opportunity. Is your church or ministry ready to respond?
Having a ministry disaster response plan can help eliminate confusion, speed response, clarify roles, limit misguided efforts, and reduce liability risks in the wake of an emergency.
Here are some suggestions for building a disaster response framework:
Form a disaster relief committee. Find volunteers passionate about serving those in crisis. They can create a committee to lead the church in preparation and training.
Recruit volunteers. You'll need people with diverse talents, including administration, hospitality, leadership, counseling, medical training, construction, and outreach.
Decide what resources to offer. A few options include:
Talk with your insurance agent. Find out whether your insurance policy will cover your planned response efforts. Ask for advice on limiting the liability risks your congregation assumes.
Discuss funding. Decide how much money to reserve for disaster response.
Train workers. While unskilled laborers can help after a disaster, your responders should have special training or experience if they'll be providing such services as emergency medical care, crisis counseling, food preparation or tree removal.
Prepare paperwork. For a work team, your church should have:
For a temporary shelter, your church should have:
For expense reimbursement, you may also need to complete forms required by the American Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Inform others of your availability. Tell local emergency response officials, your denominational relief organization, and the American Red Cross what services you're willing to provide as part of the emergency response network.
Organize communication. After a disaster in your community, you'll need to:
Benefit from the wisdom of those with experience. Visit the website of your denomination's relief organization or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or call your local chapter of the American Red Cross or The Salvation Army to find guidelines that could be adapted for your use.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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