Even in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, other disasters may continue to happen and preparedness continues to be needed. Why should we plan? Preparedness gives us the peace of mind that we will have the resilience to withstand the effect of a disaster. During these times of the pandemic the Episcopal Relief and Development organization has many resources to share with local parishes. The Faith-Based Response to Epidemics and Pandemics webpage is one of these excellent resources.
Steps for Parish Disaster Preparedness
Step 1: Build a Team
Developing a Disaster Leadership team for your parish is one of the best practices to ensure that your church and congregation are well prepared. Team planning efforts and knowledge of the plan are the best remedy against chaotic responses to a disaster. What sort of roles will the team fulfill?
- Drafting and implementing church preparedness plans for multiple types of disasters
- Help to familiarize the congregation with the church’s role in preparation and response
- Share in ministries that foster church and community resilience
Step 2: Make a Plan
Do you know what your church would do in case of a hurricane, fire, flood, or other local emergency? Having a plan ensures that your staff and assets are protected. Planning for disaster may include:
- Establishing a working and pastoral communications network
- Staff evacuation and other safety precautions
- Keeping an up to date inventory of the church’s assets
- The church’s role in response and serving the greater community
- Resuming Sunday morning services as soon as possible
- Care of archives and records and many other considerations, at the discretion of the rector and the Disaster Leadership Team.
Planning can sometimes seem overwhelming! A diocesan representative is available to facilitate your church’s planning and to assist with its implementation. Contact Deacon Larry Norfleet, Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or, 302-602-0969 Plan templates are available through the Episcopal Relief and Development Disaster Program The plans are very thorough and highly customizable to suit your individual church’s needs. Plan templates range from the most comprehensive (Gold) to the least comprehensive (Bronze).
Step 3: Developing Resilience
The Foundation of Preparedness and Response
Resilience is a measure of how well a community is able to recover from a disastrous incident. More than planning, preparedness, and response, it’s an intrinsic quality of healthy communities that sustains them during the grueling days after an event and fuels their recovery, often allowing them to come back stronger and more tightly knit than ever before. Community and state preparedness connections such as the City of Wilmington, State of Delaware, and Episcopal Asset Map of Delaware are key tools for support of Resilience.