How Prepared Is Your Congregation for Emergencies and Disasters?

Written by admin on September 13th, 2012

By Greg Hunt, Ph.D.

Author of Leading Congregations through Crisis

St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2012

September 2012 marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Citizen Corps. This emphasis is designed to encourage Americans to make sure they’re prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. It raises the question: How prepared is your congregation for a disaster or emergency?

Here’s a brief assessment to determine your congregation’s level of preparedness:

  1. Do you have a committee or team of people in your church whose role it is to assess and manage your congregation’s risks?
  2. Have you developed a Top Ten list of your congregation’s most likely and potentially serious risks?
  3. Have you done a risk audit to determine your congregation’s current state of readiness to prevent or respond to your top risks?
  4. Have you developed plans to reduce your risks and improve your response capabilities, should an emergency or disaster occur?
  5. Do you have a crisis response plan that takes into account both your response to emergencies themselves AND what you will do to keep the congregation functioning during crisis recovery?
  6. Do you have a crisis response plan that establishes clear lines of authority in case of an emergency?
  7. Do you have a readily available, up-to-date contact sheet that clarifies whom to call in an emergency and how to reach them?
  8. Have you developed a communication plan for addressing your congregation and the public in case of a disaster or emergency?
  9. Have you communicated your plans to the congregation and outside support systems (e.g., Police, Fire Department)?
  10. Do you occasionally run simulation exercises to test your plans and keep them fresh?

Your congregation doesn’t have to get caught off-guard by misfortune. There are things you can do before crises occur to prevent preventable ones and prepare for those that might occur anyway. Form a risk management team, if you haven’t already done so; put a copy of Leading Congregations through Crisis, into the hands of every team member; and use it as a guide for preventing, preparing for, and responding to your congregation’s unwelcome interruptions.

Contact Information:            Gregory L. Hunt


Leave a Comment