Southern Baptist

Church Preparedness for Disaster Relief 

 

North American Mission Board, SBC

Table of Contents

Churches Ministering in Crisis…………………………………………………………………………. 1

Introduction and Church Preparedness……………………………………………………………. 1

Step 1: Form and Collaborative Planning Team………………………………………………. 2

Identify Core Planning Team……………………………………………………………………… 2

Engaging the Whole Community………………………………………………………………… 3

Step 2:  Understand the Situation……………………………………………………………………. 6

Identify Threats and Hazards……………………………………………………………………… 6

Assess Risk………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6

Step 3:  Determine the Goals and Objectives………………………………………………….. 7

Determine Operation Priorities…………………………………………………………………… 7

Set Goals and Objectives…………………………………………………………………………… 7

Step 4:  Plan and Development………………………………………………………………………. 8

Develop and Analyze Course of Action………………………………………………………. 8

Identify Resources…………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Identify Information and Intelligence Needs………………………………………………… 9

Step 5:  Plan Preparation, Review and Approve………………………………………………. 9

Write the Plan……………………………………………………………………………………………. 9

Review the Plan………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

Approve and Disseminate the Plan…………………………………………………………… 10

Step 6:  Plan Implementation and Maintenance……………………………………………… 11

Training…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11

Exercise the Plan…………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

Review, Revise and Maintain the Plan……………………………………………………… 11

Appendix One………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13

Appendix Two………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14

Appendix Three……………………………………………………………………………………….. 15

 

 

Churches Ministering In Crisis

 

Goal:

  • To assist churches to prepare for disaster by developing strategies for preparedness
  • To create plans for response activity within the church and community
  • To assist churches in developing training to prepare and respond to disaster

 

Introduction

 

A disaster is defined as anything that causes human suffering  or creates human needs that the disaster survivors cannot alleviate themselves.

 

A church must plan how it will respond to disasters, large and small, within the church and in the community. Plans need to be well developed and discussed by the church leaders and shared with the members. Families and individuals within the congregation need to participate in training to understand their role. A community action plan also needs to  be  developed for the churches response within the greater community of partners.

 

The unprepared church will miss valuable opportunities to minister if not prepared. By planning before a disaster occurs and coordinating with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, local government agencies, The Salvation Army, and local American Red Cross chapter, a church can be prepared to minister fully in a time of crisis.

 

Part of the local church’s disaster relief plan should consider the needs of individuals and families who have experienced disasters in their lives.  These plans might include ministries such as a food pantry, clothes closet, and/or financial assistance. Preparedness is an essential part of the plan and can be achieved through training for families within the local church  and community.

 

A church must first be prepared to face its own disaster.

 

Church Preparedness

 

 

 

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines preparedness as “a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure  effective coordination during incident response.” This ‘preparedness cycle’ is one element of a broader National Preparedness System to prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

 

 

Most businesses and organizations fail to prepare for any type of disaster. Close to 60% of businesses and organizations are unprepared for any disaster. 15 to 40% of businesses and organizations fail following a natural or man-made disaster. Preparedness makes good business sense. However, preparedness cannot be done alone. It requires a lot of different sectors in the church and community helping and working together to create a plan. The planning process should be flexible and allow the church to adapt depending on varying characteristics and situations.

 

 

 

A new tool which can be used to help a church determine  their preparedness  level is the Ready Rating program. American Red Cross has prepared the online tool to allow businesses, schools and organizations determine their readiness level. The 120 point assessment is broken up into 84 questions and will give  a final score.  The assessment can be found at www.readyrating.org.

 

Once an assessment has been completed, the planning process can begin. The planning process should be flexible and allow for churches to adapt to a variety of characteristics and  situations.  While not ideal, if time is a constraint, steps can  be minimized or skipped in order to accelerate the process. Small churches can follow just the steps that are appropriate to their size, known risks, and available planning resources.  The graph below depicts steps in the planning process.

 

Step 1:  Form a Collaborative Planning Team

 

Experience and lessons learned indicate that operational planning is best performed by a team. Using a team or group approach helps organizations define the role they will play during an  operation.  A  church  always benefits from the active participation of all stakeholders.

 

Identify Core Planning Team

A church disaster relief planning team should be elected by the church membership, headed by a church disaster relief team leader who will give general direction to mitigation, preparation, organization, and  training. Other recommended members are the men’s ministry director, the  Woman’s Missionary Union director, the missions committee chairman, the pastor, and other staff.

 

 

 

 

 

Initially, the team should be small, consisting of a few members and staff. They will form the core for all planning efforts. As the plan matures, the  core team will expand to include others partners. Additional  input may come from the following:

 

  • Emergency management
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire services
  • EMS
  • Public Health
  • Hospitals
  • Public works
  • Utility operators
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Animal control
  • Social services
  • Childcare, child welfare, juvenile justice facilities
  • National Guard
  • Private sector
  • Civic, social, faith-based, educational, professional, and advocacy organizations

 

Regardless of the core planning team structure, the involvement of partner agencies and departments is critical. They are able to speak with authority on policy, provide subject matter expertise, and provide accountability as it relates to their agency or department.

 

Engaging the Whole Community in Planning

Engaging in community-based planning – planning that is for the whole community and involves the whole community- is crucial to the success of any plan. Determining how to effectively engage the community in this planning process is one of the biggest challenges faced by churches. It is important to remember that community leaders have a keen understanding about their community’s needs and capabilities and are a valuable stakeholder that can support the planning process in many ways.

 

Communities may or may not be geographically constrained. The geographic community includes a number of communities of interest. The communities of interest are not necessarily confined to the borders of a

 

 

 

jurisdiction and may center on physical, social, cultural, or philosophical structures.  Examples include:

 

  • Civic, social, faith-based, educational, professional, and advocacy organizations
  • Immigrant and limited English proficiency constituencies
  • Voluntary organizations
  • Private service providers
  • Critical infrastructure operators
  • Local and regional corporations

 

The private sector is a critical component in community engagement. Not only are they often the primary providers of critical series to the public, the also possess knowledge and resources to supplement and enhance preparedness, response and recovery efforts. Often, private sector and governments missions overlap- early coordination ensures  effective  sharing of information and resources and facilitates the establishment of common goals and objectives.

 

Disasters begin and end locally. After the response is over, it is the local community that lives with the decisions made during the  incident. Therefore, communities should have a say in how a disaster response occurs. They should also shoulder responsibility for building their community’s resilience and enhancing its recovery before, during, and after a disaster.

 

 

 

 

 

The foundation for community-based planning is knowing the community.

 

Finally, it is critical to include civic leaders, members of the public, and representatives of community-based organizations in the planning process. They may serve as an important resource for validating assumptions about public   needs,   capabilities,   and   reactions.      Because   many  planning

 

 

 

assumptions and response activities will directly impact the public at large, involving the whole community during the planning phase is essential.

Step 2:  Understand the Situation

 

Effective risk management depends on a consistent comparison of the hazards a church faces.  This is typically performed through a threat/hazard identification  and risk assessment process that collects information about threats and hazards and assigns values to risk for the purposes of determining priorities, developing   or comparing courses of action, and informing decision making.

 

Identify Threats and Hazards

The planning team should start the problem-solving process by conducting research and analysis on the churches threats and hazards. Considering the potential risks a church may face brings specificity to the planning process.

 

The first step of research focuses on gathering information about the churches framework, potential risks, resource base, demographics, and geographic characteristics that could affect emergency operations.  Understanding  past  storm history and response activity is necessary and valuable information to collect. Local authorities and partnering agencies will be able to assist with these details.

 

One resource the church can use to determine available resources is the  checklist located in Appendix One. This will allow churches to determine what assets are available or needed. Individual church members should complete the interest and skills survey located in Appendix Two. The next step of the threat identification process is to organize the information collected into a format that is usable by the planning team.

 

Assess Risk

The assessment helps a planning team decide what hazards or threats merit special attention, what actions must be planned for and what resources are likely to be needed.

 

Hazard and threat analysis requires that the planning team knows risks that have occurred or could occur in the community. The process should begin with a list of the risks that concern planners, developed from research conducted earlier in the planning process.  A list of concerns might be:

 

 

 

 

 

The outcomes of the analysis process help planners determine goals and objectives (Step 3) and select the supporting planning concept they will use when developing the plan (Step4).

 

Step 3: Determine Goals and Objectives Determine Operational Priorities

Operational priorities specify what the responding church is to accomplish to achieve a desired end-state for the operation. The pastor may communicate desired end-states for the operations addressed in the plans. By  using  information from the risk profile developed as part of the analysis process, the planning team engages the pastor to establish how the threat would evolve in the church and what defines a successful outcome for responders, disaster survivors and the community.

 

The planning team should start with a possible threat and imagine the incident’s development from prevention and protections efforts, through initial warning to its impact on the church and its generation of specific consequences,  (e.g.,  collapsed buildings, loss of critical services or infrastructure, death, injury, displacement). These scenarios should be realistic and created on the basis of  the churches risk data. During this process of building an incident scenario, the planning team identifies the requirements that determine actions and resources.

 

Once the requirements are identified, the planning team restates them as  priorities and affirms those priorities with the pastor.

 

Set Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives must be carefully crafted to ensure they support accomplishing the plan mission and operational priorities. They must also clearly indicate the desired result or end-state they are designed to yield.  This approach

 

 

 

enables unity of effort and consistency of purpose among the multiple groups and activities involved in executing the plan. As goals and objectives are  set,  planners may identify more requirements that will feed into the development of courses of action as well as the capability estimate.

 

Step 4:  Plan Development

 

Develop and Analyze Courses of Action

This step is a process of generating, comparing, and selecting possible solutions for achieving the goals and objectives identified in Step 3. The planning team should consider the requirements, goals, and objectives to develop several response alternatives.  At least two options should always be considered.

 

This process will help the planning team identify tasks that occur immediately at the incident initiation, tasks that are more mid-incident focused, and tasks that affect long-term operations.

 

Course of action development follows these steps:

  • Establish the timeline
  • Depict the scenario
  • Identify and depict decision points
  • Identify and depict operations tasks
  • Select courses of action

 

Identify Resources

Once courses of action are selected, the planning team identifies resources needed to accomplish tasks without regard to resource availability. The object is  to identify the resources needed to make the operation work. Once the planning team identifies all the requirements, they begin matching available resources to requirements.  Whenever possible, the planning team should match resources  with other needs so that multiple demands for the same or similar resource can  be identified and conflicts resolved. This step provides the planning team an opportunity to identify resource shortfalls. The church should account for unsolvable resource shortfalls so they are not just “assumed away.”  The  capability estimate process is critical to this effort.

 

A capability estimate is the planning team’s assessment of a churches ability to take a course of action. Capability estimates help the planning team decide if pursuing a particular course of action is realistic and supportable. They help planners better project and understand what might take place during  an  operation.   Simply stated,  the  capability estimate  represents the capabilities and

 

 

 

resource types needed to complete a set of courses of action. The resulting capability estimate will feed into the resource section of the plan.

 

The information provided in a capability estimate should be able to answer most questions about a churches ability to support a given course of action. Capability estimates should be prepared for personnel, administration and finance, operations, logistics, communications, equipment and facilities. Each capability estimate compares the courses of action being considered for a particular operation. They make recommendations as to which course of action best supports the operation. They should also identify the criteria used to evaluate each area; and the issues, differences and risks associated with a course of action.

 

Identify Information and Intelligence Needs

Another outcome from course of action development is a “list” of the information and intelligence needs for each of the response participants. The planning team should identify the information and intelligence they will need  and  their deadline(s) for receiving it to drive decisions and trigger critical actions.

 

When developing courses of action, the process should be periodically “frozen”  so the planning team can:

  • Identify progress made toward the end-state, including goals and objectives met and new needs or demands
  • Identify “single point failures” (i.e., tasks that, if not completed, would cause the operation to fall apart)
  • Check for omissions or gaps
  • Check for inconsistencies in organizational relationships
  • Check for mismatches between the churches plan and plans for other organizations with which they are

 

Step 5: Plan Preparation, Review and Approval Write the Plan

This step turns the results of course of action development into an Emergency Operation Plan. The planning team develops a rough draft of the basic plan. The recorded results from Step 4 provide an outline for the rough draft with necessary tables, charts and other graphics being added as needed. The planning team prepares and circulates a final draft to obtain the comments of the church staff  and members that have responsibilities for implementing the plan.

 

 

 

Following these simple rules for writing plans and procedures will help ensure   that readers and users understand their content:

  • Keep the language simple and clear
  • Avoid using jargon and minimize the use of acronyms
  • Use short sentences and the active voice
  • Provide enough detail to convey an easily understood plan that is actionable
  • Format the plan and present its contents so that its readers can quickly find solutions and options
  • Ensure accessibility by developing tools and documents so they can be easily converted to alternate formats

 

Review the Plan

Planners should check the written plan for its conformity to applicable regulatory requirements and the standards of Federal or state agencies, as appropriate, and for its usefulness in practice.

 

Commonly used criteria can help decision makers determine the effectiveness  and efficiency of plans.  These measures include:

  • Adequacy
  • Feasibility
  • Acceptability
  • Completeness
  • Compliance

 

When using these five criteria, planners should ask the following questions:

 

  • Did an action, a process, a decision or the operational timing identified in the plan make the situation worse or better?
  • Were new alternate courses of action identified?
  • What aspects of the action, process, decision, or operational timing make it something to avoid or remove from the plan?
  • What specific changes to plans and procedures, personnel, organizational structures, leadership or management processes, facilities or equipment can improve operational performance?

 

Additionally, when reviewing the plan, a church does not have to provide all of the resources needed to meet a capability requirement established during the planning effort.  However, the plan should explain where the church will obtain   the resources to support those required capabilities.

 

Approve and Disseminate the Plan

 

 

 

Once the plan has been validated, the planning team should present the plan to the appropriate church officials and obtain approval for the plan. It is also important to establish the authority required for changes and modifications to the plan.  Once approved, the planning team should arrange to distribute the plan.

Step 6: Plan Implementation and Maintenance Training

After developing a plan, it must be shared and training should take place for all

personnel involved so they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the tasks identified in the plan.

 

Exercise the Plan

Evaluating the effectiveness of plans involves a combination of training events, exercises and real-world incidents to determine whether the goals, objectives, decisions, actions and timing outlined in the plan led to a successful response. The church needs to be aware of lessons and practices from other communities.

 

A remedial action process can help a planning team identify, illuminate, and correct problems with the churches Emergency Operation Plan. This process captures information from exercises, post-disaster critiques, self-assessments, audits, or lessons-learned processes that may indicate that deficiencies exist. Members of the planning team should reconvene to discuss the problem and to consider and assign responsibility for generating remedies. Remedial actions may also involve providing refresher training for a church’s personnel.

 

As appropriate, significant issues and problems identified through a remedial action process and/or the annual review should provide the information needed to allow the planning team to make the necessary revisions to the plan.

 

Review, Revise, and Maintain the Plan

This step closes the loop in the planning process. It focuses on adding the information gained by exercising the plan to the research collected in Step 2 and starting the planning cycle over again. Remember, planning is a continuous process that does not stop when the plan is published. Plans should evolve as lessons are learned, new information and insights are obtained, and priorities are updated.

 

Planning teams should establish a process for reviewing and revising the plan. Many accomplish their reviews on an annual basis. Teams should also consider reviewing and updating the plan after the following events:

  • A major incident

 

 

 

  • A change in operational resources
  • A formal update of standards
  • Each activation
  • Major exercises
  • A change in the churches demographics
  • A change in the acceptability of various risks
  • The enactment of new or amended laws or ordinances

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix One

Church Potential for Disaster Response

 

 

The following may be used in a disaster response in or near our community.

 

  1. Church Facilities         Vehicles

 

            classrooms                                              

            clothes bank                                           

            dining room                                            

            dumpster                                                 

            fellowship hall                                         

            food bank                                                

            gymnasium                                             

            kitchen                                                     

            nursery                                                    

            outside electric hookup                         

            outside swage                                        

            outside water hookup

4×4’s aircraft ATV

boats buses campers

tractor-trailer trailers trucks

van

other                        

 

            rest rooms                                         D.        Tools and Supplies

 

            showers                                                   

            storage building                                      

            vacant building                                        

            other                                                         

wheelchair brooms cots crutches

 

            electric cords

 

  1. Equipment       

            air compressor                                        

            chainsaws, etc.                                      

            generator                                                 

            high volume pump                                 

            oxygen tank                                            

            portable stoves                                       

            sanitation equipment and                                 supplies

            submersible pump

            other                         

first-aid kit garden hose hand tools mops

power tools shop vacuum shovels

other                              

 

 

 

 

Appendix Two

Church Member Disaster Relief Interest and Skills  Survey

 

Name                                                                                                                                           Street Address                                                             Home Phone                                                          City/State/Zip                                                             Work Phone                                                                             E-mail                                                             Cell Phone                                                                                                          Church                                                             Phone   Address                                                                                                                                                        

 

Would you be interested in assisting with a disaster relief project by our  church:

          In this community                 In this county                        In this state

          In the USA                            Internationally

 

How much lead-time would you need to get ready to participate in a project?

 

 

Interest/Experience/Training

 

Check the types of disaster ministries that interest you. Place two checks by areas where you are experienced.

 

  1.      Advisory/advocacy
  2.      Bulk distribution
  3.      Casework
  4.      Chainsaw crew/tree removal
  5.      Child care
  6.      Cleanup crew
  7.      Communications (Ham Radios)
  8.      Counseling
  9.      Crisis closet
  10.   Damage assessment
  11. Elder care (or handicapped)
  12.   Employment assistance
  13.   Evacuation of persons
  14. Feeding
  1.   Interpreter:

Language                        

  1.   Legal aid
  2.   Literacy
  3.   Medical emergency team
  4. Mud-outs
  5.   Reconstruction team
  6.   Repair (emergency)
  7.   Salvage
  8.   Sanitation
  9.   Security
  10. Shelter management or care
  11.   Transportation
  12. Other                                  

 

Check if you have training in the following:

     Involving Southern Baptists in                               American Red Cross Disaster Relief                                              Introduction to Disaster

     State disaster relief manual                                     Services

     Hands-on training with unit                                     Mass Feeding

     Temporary emergency child                                  Advanced first aid and CPR care                                                         Other

     Crisis counseling                                                      Other disaster relief training

Appendix Three

 

 

 

 

 

Church Opportunities and Action

 

A church can assist with mitigation, preparation, warning, rescue and evacuation. It can also provide facilities, volunteers, and supplies to assist with emergency  feeding,  shelter, child care, or other functions. Church facilities can be used as an information center for disaster survivors and also provide pastoral counseling or crisis intervention.

 

Other ministry opportunities for churches are to:

 

  • Identify volunteers (in the church or in the community) who can give advice regarding insurance, repair contracts, and applications for loans or

 

  • Locate qualified people to care for children, the elderly, and sick or disabled people who need special facilities, diets, transportation, and/or

 

  • Identify members who can provide temporary housing for disaster

 

  • Identify bilingual interpreters to assist those who speak another language or have literacy

 

  • Provide companionship to people who have been displaced and are unfamiliar with their new surroundings, community services, and

 

  • Participate in ministries such as receiving, sorting, and distributing clothing, bedding, bulk food, clean-up, and household

 

  • Provide assistance with food, housing, communication, and other needs of out-of- town volunteers who come to help with the disaster

 

  • Cooperate with other agencies during

 

  • Have a voice in the rebuilding/relocation process and make sure disaster  survivors are treated the same in regard to physical, social, and  spiritual

 

  • Begin a transportation bank by developing a database of cars, vans, pickups, dump trucks, boats, planes, ATV’s, etc. which might be available during a

 

  • Organize clean-up, salvage, security or repair crews, as well as help disaster survivors clean their homes and furniture, install temporary roofing or board up windows and doors or remove household contents for safe