Church Emergency Plan – Reduce Impact of Disaster
“Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Mt. 11: 19c)
A well-developed church emergency plan is a proactive approach to disaster that will move your church toward empowerment, resiliency, and self-reliance. While it may not prevent disaster, it will reduce its impact. The plan must serve to protect church property, people, and the local community. It must cover how to handle an emergency when it happens, as well as how to recover from that emergency.
A church emergency plan is a bit different than that of a business or home.
Historically, churches have been the first place people turn to in times of disaster. They seek the security of a local church. So, even if the church is the victim in a disaster, plans must be in effect to recover quickly.
Be prepared – it reduces the level of anxiety and fear in a disaster. Form a committee. Develop a Church Emergency Plan which will best serve your church and local community.
Here are Emergency Plan guidelines you can use for your Church Emergency Plan.
# 1 – Appoint a Church Emergency Team
Based on the size of your church and its resources available, it may be most appropriate for the Board of Directors to appoint a planning team. This committee will be keeping the Board abreast of its progress, as well as receiving support in ongoing emergency training.
Using a group approach to a church emergency plan encourages participation from the whole church body. It moves you from communicating to people, to communicating with people; from planning for people to planning with people. It keeps the energy going and allows for a larger body of prepared helpers! It is always important for the church leadership, especially children’s church and education leaders, to be involved.
Check this out:
Three Burleson teenagers are in custody in connection with an attempted arson at a Burleson church and a subsequent fire in a nearby field.”(NBC, July 2007)
Wow. When I think of a church emergency plan, my first thoughts head in the direction of earthquakes, floods, forest fires, and national threats. Arson is certainly an emergency a church needs to plan for.
#2 – Conduct a risk assessment.
If you haven’t done so already, designate a Church Risk Assessment Team to identify risks. You may click on the following link to go to Church Risk Assessment information
It is an important part of security for your church and of emergency preparedness. Develop a plan and a timeline for repairing weak areas. For instance, this last Sunday I noticed loose railings on a stairway. In the event of an emergency, it will be crucial that the stairways are safe! So, secure those areas that undermine safety before an emergency happens.
#3 – Plan, illustrate, and post an evacuation plan.
If this is not already done, please do so immediately. Post in every room. In large rooms, post at every exit. Make sure every single ministry worker knows the plan! Practice quarterly so that it becomes second-nature to everyone! Awareness is an essential part of any church emergency plan.
#4 – Schedule a CPR/First Aid class
Survey your congregation for certified CPR and First Aid instructors. Ask them to serve the congregation by offering annual classes. If you do not have any instructors in your church, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to arrange CPR/First Aid classes at your church. The costs are usually very low for groups. Schedule it.
#5 – Make a list
Determine what types of natural disasters may arise based on your location. Add to that list additional risks including, but not limited to, fire, robbery, theft, gunmen, attacks.
#6 – Develop a plan for each situation.
Make a list of all contacts. Keep it updated.
Talk with the fire department or code enforcement agency in your area to determine what regulations are in effect for displaced families. Note addresses and contact information for these places.
Contact local contractors or repair services and see which are willing to place your church on a priority list following a disaster. Note contact information and services offered.
Contact local insurance agent who will agree to assist displaced families in filing their insurance claims.
Seek an agreement with another local church or school so services can continue if your building or property is unsafe.
#7 – Gather emergency supplies.
Store these supplies in a clearly marked and easily-accessible area. Document this on your church emergency plan. At the bottom of this page we have a website you can check out. It sells all of the emergency supplies and kits you made need!
#8 – Create a repair fund.
Request church planning and financial committees to set aside a capitol improvement fund to repair damages.
#9 – Plan for Crisis Counseling.
Ask a qualified mental health professional in your congregation to offer Crisis Intervention Training to members of your congregation. If this is not possible, contact the Red Cross for Crisis Counselors and keep on hand. Some Red Cross agencies offer training in this area as well.
#10 – Document all the above information you have worked so hard to gather.
Duplicate your emergency plan. Duplicate critical church records (accounting files, blueprints, inventory, etc.)
Store records on site in a fireproof safe – off site in a secure location such as a safe-deposit box.
Make copies of the Emergency Plan for the Board of Directors and all leaders. Make copies available for the entire congregation. And most importantly…
Add Security Team Training to your Church Emergency Plan!