Is Your Church Ready to be a First Responder?

Is Your Church Ready to be a First Responder?
September 17, 2013 Bob D'Ambrosio
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When it rains—-it pours! That’s been the case in Northern Colorado this past week. You may have heard of the flooding on national news. Simply put, we received a whole years worth of rain, in just a few days.

When disaster strikes, it gives the church the opportunity to be the church. To serve. To reach out. To make a difference to those who’s lives are suddenly devastated.

But it doesn’t just happen.

An equipping church is intentional about connecting people to ministry. Churches in Colorado who first mobilized volunteer support had a plan of action.

A first responder church will have these items in place:

  1. Agency Partnership – Early responders have an existing relationship with their local Red Cross or other service providers. When action is needed, such as establishing an evacuation center, providing meals, or offering supplies, an existing partnership allows for quick response to a recovery plan. The agency already knows what assistance the church can provide and can move forward with action steps.
  2. Pre-Screen – When disaster strikes, pull volunteers from a list of those who have already been background checked. There’s no time to do this beforehand so know who’s already been approved. Those who have been cleared can be assigned to work with children in a shelter or with a displaced family.
  3. Standby Status – The time to recruit volunteers to serve as early responders is before a crisis happens. Create a list of people who are willing to serve as needed, days and times available, skills and training they can provide, and how to contact them at a moment’s notice. As new people come forward to volunteer be ready to provide a listing of ways and times in which they can help.
  4. Quick Communication – Communication is critical when providing first response to emergency situations. Do you have a system in place for communicating updates, needs, and opportunities for involvement? Social media, website postings, text messages and email can all be used to connect volunteers to the service needed. Consider establishing a “command center” so all communication goes through one location to make sure it’s accurate.

With these items in place your church can respond with the quick action needed for rescue and recovery. We appreciate your prayers and thank the local church community for their call to action.

 

[The photo is of recent flooding in Loveland, Colorado. Thankfully, Group Publishing’s building was not harmed.]

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