Oftentimes we walk in our houses of worship and go about our normal routines never thinking what would happen if a disaster were to strike at that exact moment. What would you do? Where would you go? We hope to help you answer these questions and more in this section about preparing your facility for any emergency that may possibly occur.
Here are things to keep in mind when you are preparing your house of worship for emergency:
- Having a plan is key. You may not go by the plan step by step in the event of an emergency, but at least you’re that much closer to being prepared to handle anything that occurs.
- Interruption insurance is important to have if you get hit by a disaster because it provides protection for your house of worship by providing funds that may not be able to be received from tithes and offerings due to damage to the building or the close of normal functioning of the house of worship.
- Deciding to pursue disaster relief ministry work could be a fun and rewarding endeavor for your congregation. When starting a disaster relief ministry, some important questions are:
- Will we develop our own relief ministry or will we partner with another organization? (see disaster relief chart for partnership opportunities)
- Should we consult with legal counsel to determine the feasibility of supporting disaster response?
- What type of financial impact will this new ministry have on our existing financial infrastructure?
- What type of volunteer capacity is needed to support a new disaster outreach ministry?
Once these questions are answered, consult with your existing legal and financial advisors to map out a plan. If you do not already have legal or financial consultants, there are several resources available through the Georgia Center for Non-Profits (GCN). Depending on your level of participation in disaster relief, consider consulting with a non-profit Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for help with financial inquiries. Non-profits CPAs can be a valuable asset, providing more concentrated coaching and consultation regarding services and/or resources your house of worship may provide. For help locating a good non-profit CPA, contact GCN or find references in your area.
- Connect with your local emergency management agency and local first responders and ask a representative to be part of your planning committee.