Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

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

Plans: More than documents

Sep 18, 2014

America’s PreparAthon! will take place on Tuesday, September 30. The PrepareAthon is a nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience. Individuals, organizations, and communities can participate through drills, group discussions and exercises to prepare for local hazards.


I wonder how many of our congregations are prepared to respond to disasters that might affect their communities. The synod disaster plan under development will call on all of our congregations to develop their own disaster plans that will include what to do in the event a disaster strikes their properties, as well as what they can do to respond to local disasters.


Such plans are more than documents that we keep in our church offices. We must practice our plans regularly so that we can better enact them when disaster strikes. Drills and table-top exercises help us to find the weaknesses in our plans and strengthen them, and they keep us mindful of our roles so that in an emergency we will know what to do without losing time looking it up.


When we have our synod and congregation disaster plans and practice them, we can better encourage our members to develop their own plans. In fact, part of a congregation’s plan might be to offer regular training to members (and the community) so that they can make their own plans and practice them together. These events can have the added benefit of bringing neighbors together in a way that enables them to help each other in a disaster situation. If I know my neighbor’s plan as well as my own, we can work together to find safety. And if my neighbor has a need that I discover in a preparedness exercise, I can be ready to help when disaster strikes.