Protect Your Ministry with Adequate Disaster Planning

A tornado. A gas leak. A bomb threat. These are the kinds of nightmare scenarios that fill news headlines and keep church risk managers awake at night. By establishing strong emergency response procedures, your ministry can greatly reduce its disaster vulnerability.

Assemble Your Team

First, create a team to help your organization plan for possible emergency situations. Include people with experience in emergency services, communications, and the medical field.

Assess Threat Likelihood and Impact

The first rule of disaster preparation is to prioritize possible threats. Given your location, the age of your facilities, and other circumstances specific to your organization, evaluate potential threats and prioritize them according to the likelihood of their happening and then evaluate their potential impact on your church or ministry. 

Plan Emergency Responses

Once you have identified high-priority threats, imagine possible scenarios for each threat, and plot appropriate responses. Document and post your response plans. Be sure each plan includes individual responsibilities, evacuation plans, headcount procedures, and notes concerning the location of emergency supplies.

Conduct Drills

Conduct drills to familiarize your members with official emergency procedures. Afterward, compare notes to identify and address problems.

Maintain a Contact List

Maintain an updated list of emergency contacts. Include 24-hour contact information for each of the following:

  • Church leaders
  • Safety team members
  • Police and fire departments
  • Local hospitals and ambulance services
  • Your church’s insurance agent (include the policy number)
  • Telephone, gas, and electric companies
  • Building management and security

Plot a Recovery Plan

Ensure that your church has each of the following:

  • Adequate insurance coverage
  • Off-site backup copies of membership and financial records
  • An off-site, up-to-date list of building contents
  • An alternative location where your services could be held temporarily
  • A list of area contractors qualified to repair or renovate your building

Prepared with a well-developed disaster plan, your church can respond promptly and appropriately to address the needs of the church and your community when a disaster occurs.