It is an important part of our responsibility for the leadership of God’s people and stewardship of God’s resources to be prepared for emergencies and disasters. Right now, in light of a potential weather emergency, you may be in the process of activating your church emergency procedures, IF YOU HAVE THEM. If not, or if you don’t know where to access them, you might want to use this checklist for some action steps to take right now to be prepared to continue in ministry for your own neighborhood and for the benefit of your community if Hurricane Sandy affects our area.
1. Prepare to care for yourselves and your church community members. Pastors or Session might communicate with all the main care-giving groups in the congregation—Deacons, Stephen Ministers, etc. Make sure there is a person in charge. Exchange all contact information among yourselves and among your primary contacts. You may want to organize a phone tree among yourselves to be calling your own congregation members after a weather emergency.
2. Protect property and vital records. Make sure your important staff and volunteers know how to secure your church property and plan for recovery and/or repairing property damage to the church building. Are your data records stored or backed up? Insurance policies retrievable?
3. Prepare to care for your immediate congregation and neighborhood. Obtain contact information of all organizations using your church building outside of your own congregation.
4. Disseminate information to those worshiping on Sunday—where they can turn for help in their own home preparations. Here is a list for Fairfax County, but has information that is widely useful.
5. Pray for all the people in our community who will have extra responsibilities as the storm approaches: public safety employees, medical personnel, utility workers, as well as social service agencies and other churches/houses of worship.