Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Make a plan

Sep 15, 2014

Week Three of National Preparedness Month focuses on what we need to have in order to be prepared in the event of a disaster. There are several things needed in a disaster plan. The synod’s draft disaster plan specifies how our congregations and synod staff might respond to disasters but, more importantly, it begins to specify measures to be taken in order to be prepared for our response. Indeed, we cannot respond well in a disaster unless we have prepared ourselves ahead of time. Knowing that our own house is in order will help us to reach out to others after a disaster rather than leave us scrambling with our own recovery.


readyBefore any flight takes off, the passengers are given a safety demonstration that includes what to do in the event of emergencies. The flight attendants demonstrate the use of seatbelts, life vests, and how to put on an oxygen mask if the cabin loses pressure. Passengers are instructed, "If you are traveling with young children, put on your own mask first before helping your child." This seemingly selfish act, we know, is so that we do not lose consciousness while trying to help another. Being prepared means that we have taken measures before a disaster for our own safety and security, and the well-being of our families and our congregations so that we can more quickly come to the aid of others.


The synod disaster plan will call on all congregations to have their own plans. Lutheran Disaster Response has a new resource for congregations to use, along with the many resources available from FEMA, Red Cross and other organizations. Local Long-Term Recovery Groups, COADs, and VOADs also have resources and connections through their participating organizations, as do Offices of Emergency Management.


Several organizations offer disaster planning workshops for individuals. Participants in these workshops usually receive a go-kit from the organization. Families learn how to develop a communication plan that includes a location to meet in case they cannot return home. Congregations can organize preparedness seminars and workshops for members and their neighbors with assistance from Red Cross.

disaster relief
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