Churches who lack a plan for disaster recovery suffer more in the aftermath of destruction. Without proper planning and preparation for disaster, churches risk exhausting their resources, responding inappropriately, and costing themselves more time and money than if they had planned ahead for adversities. Plan ahead so your church can act, not react, when disaster strikes. Get systems in place so there is order and not chaos should calamity come your way.
Church Disaster Recovery
Confusion can abound during disasters. Rapid communication is key. Communicate with your team in real time and get the word out about what needs you can meet as a church. Here are some steps to be ready when disaster strikes:
1. Get up-to-date contact information for all your church members now, before disaster strikes.
Regularly update your church member contact information so it stays current. Keep the information in the cloud where it is safe and accessible, no matter what. Prepare to pass critical and timely information along to your church members in an instant. Use your ability to mass message your congregation and staff members by text, email, and phone. Have the most recent physical address of those in your church body in case you need to go to their home to check on them. Regular communication can help people stay strong and cope after disaster, so communicate often with your church family in a disaster’s aftermath.
2. Establish what appropriate responses will be for various disasters in advance.
Gather a task force in your church staff and volunteers with specialties if needed, and talk through all the possible scenarios that could spell disaster in your church. Create documentation on your planned responses to these. Then practice and train your team to respond appropriately. Here are a few ideas of what to plan for:
- Flash flood
- Snow and ice storms
- Attempted violent acts in the church
3. Create a plan to mobilize specific teams after disaster strikes.
Delegate tasks to reliable staff members such as making insurance claims, communicating with the congregation, organizing clean-up crews, rallying donations of food to facilitate meal distribution to the needy after disaster strikes, and more.
4. After disaster strikes, it’s vital to mobilize professional help promptly to minimize damage.
For example, if your church building has been impacted by a tornado and the roof was penetrated by a tree, your building no longer has the protection it needs. It can be penetrated with water, and water in your building can start to mold quickly, creating even more to overcome in the restoration process.
Employ the services of a water restoration company, and talk with them before disaster strikes so they can be ready to attend to your needs should your building be compromised and flooded in any way. Proactive planning and quick implementation of your plan will minimize damage and decrease the time it takes to get things back to normal in your building. Make a list of professionals you can call to help your church if disaster strikes. For example:
- A professional crime scene and trauma cleanup company
- Commercial Emergency Restoration Management (CERM) system—Once a fire is put out or a tornado passes by, one call to a CERM that you have an account with can set in motion a sequence of prompt help:
- Contents restoration through state-of-the-art cleaning and drying processes and specialty equipment
- Water damage is assessed and treated
- Property damage is repaired
- Water extraction and drying services are performed
- Upholstery and carpets are cleaned and restored so you can get back to normal
- Establish your relationship with the right companies before trouble comes. Get the help you need when disaster strikes with 24/7 on-call assistance from a professional emergency restoration service.
5. Create a message in advance to send out in case of specific types of disasters so they can be quickly sent to your church members and staff.
Get comfortable with the protocol, and design the responses to bring order, solutions, and calm to the recipients. Text applications like One Call Now can help with mass notifications, and it can be learned in about an hour.
During a disaster it’s vital to stay calm. Launch your communication, and mobilize help. Keep everyone informed throughout the disaster. Remember, it’s better to overcommunicate than under-communicate. Be clear in your direction and decisive in your path to recovery.
6. Attend to the needs of your church and church members after disasters.
Plan ahead to help people with food, direct them to lodging, and most of all, give them a place to take refuge from the storm with your uplifting church services. FellowshipOne Premier can help find people with needs after disaster and pair them with people who can meet the needs. Get acquainted with this tool prior to disaster, and be prepared so you can accurately and efficiently meet needs after calamity strikes. Learning this type of tool doesn’t take long, but it should be required, and ongoing training or practice should be planned before adversity comes.
7. Before disaster, train people for key positions.
Who will bring order should a disaster strike during a church service? How will people exit the building if necessary? Where would you direct everyone if you needed to take cover due to a tornado or hurricane? Does your usher staff know what to do if a suspicious person enters the building and begins acting in ways that look potentially dangerous?
When disaster strikes through high winds, tornado, or a hurricane, churches with a plan in place will recover quicker and more efficiently. Church facility tornado recovery doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be accomplished more sequentially and smoothly if you have a plan in place prior to disaster striking.
Church Construction Services With Your Best Interests In Mind
Churches by Daniels can help with not only church construction, but also church disaster recovery that requires construction. See our Pre-Construction Management and Construction Management services, or simply contact us today to start a conversation about how we can help you.