Disaster and Emergency Readiness in the Local Church
Churches may be persuasive in preaching salvation in Christ, but they are often unprepared to save people's lives in an emergency. However, with foresight and planning, churches can meet the challenges that disaster forces upon them, providing emergency services to the community and surviving financially themselves. Church leaders should assess potential risks and outline the necessary policies and procedures for times of crisis, coordinating with other churches and emergency service providers. In this way, churches can be prepared for even the direst of unexpected events.
Types of Disasters
There are four types of disasters and emergencies that churches ought to be prepared for in order to protect both church members and residents of the community.
1. Natural disasters. This category of disaster is the most familiar and dramatic, since people wrestle with the forces of nature wherever they live.
Hurricanes. The force of a hurricanes measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale is primarily based on wind speed. The National Hurricane Center can predict intensity, landfall location, and impact up to 72 hours in advance. A hurricane can produce damage hundreds of miles inland from the point of landfall with high winds and flooding rains.
Tornadoes. Tornadoes have occurred in almost every state, but are predominant in the southern Plains and the southeast from February through April, and in the Midwest and Great Lakes region from May through July. Tornadoes are measured on the Fujita scale based on wind strength and size. Other wind damage can be caused by violent thunderstorms and fierce winter gales along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.