Is your church prepared for disaster? Are you?

Episcopal Relief & Development offers a free Preparedness Planning Guide for Congregations and Parishes and an accompanying facilitator’s guide to walk congregations through the process of preparing for a disaster. It can be downloaded for free from the resource page of its website.

Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices (ECFVP) carries 4 blog posts about planning for disasters and survival. The first one asks “Are You Prepared?”

When Janine Ungvarsky and John Major train parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem in how to prepare for and respond to disasters, they begin by explaining how unprepared they were for the one that hit their community two years ago.

On Sept 8, 2011, the Susquehanna River overflowed its banks in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The flood displaced thousands of people in West Pittston and caused millions of dollars in damage. And, it came within a block of Trinity Episcopal Church where Major is rector and Ungvarsky is missioner for ministries and renewal.

“We did nothing to protect the building,” Ungvarsky recalls. “Had the water come a block farther, our church would have suffered damage that we had done nothing to protect it from.”

Staff had difficulty contacting members who had evacuated because only home phone numbers were on file. “Eight families were directly affected,” she said. “It was weeks before we could contact some of them.”

That won’t happen next time, now that the parish is developing its own disaster preparedness plan. It will also have a better inventory of physical and human assets that it can mobilize to create an even better response.

Read more here and find links to the other 3 articles.

Episcopal Relief and Development offers immediate assistance in disasters around the world, working for recovery and planning to prevent disaster. You can assist their work through your donations here.

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