When a church congregation is hit with a disastrous storm, a tragic fire, or a natural disaster, its members look to the church leaders for direction, comfort and leadership. It is the leaders’ preparedness and response to such an event that dictates the future of the congregation. Therefore, having a church emergency plan prior to an emergency is key to the survival of any faith-based organization.
Romans 12:6 tells us, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” With this in mind, it is important to use and seek out the talents given to those in your congregation as potential members of your emergency response team. Those in the medical field, public safety, or building management are the best candidates for the team. A building coordinator, that knows and keeps the layout of the building, should oversee the group.
Here are a few things the team should consider when putting together a church emergency plan.
- In the case of emergency, the building coordinator or other designated personnel should be on site to communicate with emergency medical response teams.
- Each team member should have a hand-held radio to communicate with necessary participants
- Procedures on when to lock down the building or utilize designated emergency shelters
- Clearly mark each room with a tornado and fire safety plan. Communicate these procedures with volunteers and staff.
- Establish and communicate intruder action plan.
- Encourage adults and kids to speak up if they hear or see anyone making threats.
- Reserve funds for repairs or rebuilding process.
- Establish an action plan for clean-up or repair.
While no emergency plan can prepare for everything, the most important element to safety is training. Many faith base organizations survive on volunteers so it is important to communicate safety procedures with the volunteers throughout the year.
If a disastor occurs, meeting with insurance and public safety personnel is essential to making an educated decision on how to proceed. Safety personnel will assess if the damage is repairable or if a complete rebuild is required.
Explore Renting a Facility During Repairs
Whether repairs are required or a complete rebuild, renting a facility might be what is best for the congregation during the interum. Portable room dividers, are a popular method for dividing any large space into a temporary religious facility. Sound absorbing room dividers, such as Screenflex, create classrooms, worship rooms, meeting space, and fellowship hall in an instant. The dividers roll on wheels making it easy to instantly transform the space as different needs arise. Additionally, rent sound equipment, chairs, and tables from a local company offering a fair price.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reach out to neighboring congregations and organizations for assistance. Look for ways to share facility space, receive meals, labor, and supplies. Consider creating a partnership with other faith-based organization before a tragic event arises. And keep in mind that following a few simple safety steps and having a church emergency plan in place is essential to the continued success of the congregation.