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Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.

Jun 05
2007
CEN

Church Sheltering

Posted by: CEN

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Any church desiring to become a shelter in the event of an emergency would be best positioned to deliver prayer, care and share effectively if the commitment to being an outpost were made in advance.


  • CEN recommends that a church desiring to be a shelter on any level partner with us on the CEN web site by using the sign up prompt. You will receive the most up to date information on establishing your church relief ministry, mobilization instructions, and coordination communication to become an effective provider.
  • Determine any necessary authority structure to implement your shelter such as: approval from your senior pastor, church governing board or other approvals necessary and appropriate.
  • A church shelter leadership needs to be established which can make decisions rapidly with authority.
  • Recruit volunteers to assist in an emergency. Records need to be maintained with relevant contact information for volunteers and any special skills each possess.
  • An inventory is helpful to determine the resources of the church and church family that may offer assistance. The inventory should include the church facilities like: the kitchen capacity, potential sleeping capacity, communications, transportation and other assets that could assist relief efforts. Inventory what your church is already doing well prior to any disaster such as child care. Keep new skills required which are not already routine to a minimum. Establish team leaders for each skill base. i.e. chain saw workers, medical, construction or food preparation personnel.
  • Determine in advance how your church defines a disaster, such as: when media goes wall to wall in your area. That way if a disaster strikes locally your parishioners will promptly activate your church outpost with little or no direct communication or instructions.
  • Check CEN News to determine what current news is available in your area and what needs have surfaced that your church can meet. You will then be able to focus your assets to meet the needs that have arisen. For example a key relief ministry opportunity is to offer childcare to those in need such as emergency workers, parents trying to salvage belongings, or family searching for other family members. Determine which agencies you should partner with for a specific disaster.
  • Keep in touch with CEN for ongoing instructions. For example, your church may be called upon for a response beyond your capacity or expertise such as crisis counseling. The CEN website currently makes available resources to help with needs that are specific to what you will encounter and will be listing other resources concerning a specific disaster with contact information. You will be able to connect and offer support to others, and draw from the resources of others. As a church shelter, you will be encouraged to e-mail your prayer requests. CEN will endeavor to post these on the web site and broadcast your needs through the media network.
  • Establish a separate fund to respond to any disasters.
  • Train church members in basic first aid.
  • Instruct volunteers in how to share Christ during an emergency and keep Bibles, tracts and other spiritual guides free and reproduced available the CEN resource section of this website.
  • Purchase supplies to store food, water, blankets, sleeping bags, first aid supplies, construction supplies, and other supplies directly related to your skill base delivery.
  • Update your entire church body on the disaster team and your plans in advance through your website if applicable and ongoing if communications are difficult. Consider sending your volunteers to another area if you meet a need better when a disaster occurs.
  • Talk with neighboring churches and determine how you can work together in advance. One church may concentrate on sleeping accommodations while another focuses on food needs. Or, represent your community as a faith-based community volunteer on your city wide Citizens Corps Council.
  • Tap into your existing prayer chain for requests and directions.
  • Develop the ability to communicate with church member to outline emergency needs and recruit additional volunteers in an emergency as needed.
  • Specifically identify church members that would offer housing.
  • Inventory members with boats, 4 wheel drive, or ATV that could be utilized.
  • Sign up for  Flash  Email  on the CEN website to notify you when a disaster occurs and then activate your plans.
  • Encourage families to prepare supplies for themselves, their neighbors, and the safety of church members by using the template advised at ready.gov.

 

Key ministries often needed during disasters:

Child care
Housing shelter
Elder Care
Collection sites for supplies
Food supplies and preparation
City-wide prayer services
Clean up crews
Prayer volunteers
Construction helpers
Gospel presenters
Medical personal
Telephone counselors for seekers
Transportation
On-site disaster prayer booths
Storage facilities
On-site literature volunteers


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