We live in an area that is subject to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and fires. We are also increasingly aware of the possibility of human-initiated disasters such as terrorism. Prudent stewardship of the resources of the church requires that we be prepared for such events. We also owe it to the communities in which we live to exercise leadership in helping those communities to be resilient in the face of possible disaster.
The role of the diocesan Disaster Preparedness Committee, formed in 2012 at the request of Episcopal Relief & Development, is to offer guidance and support to congregations and other entities of the Diocese of California in the preparation of their disaster preparedness and response plans. The committee will work with Episcopal Relief & Development to provide training, information, and other capacity-building activities for local leaders and congregations throughout the diocese.
At the 164th Convention of the Diocese of California on October 26, 2013, delegates approved a resolution calling for every parish in the diocese to establish a disaster preparedness plan and put that plan on file in their church office and the diocesan office by the the 165th Convention in October 2014. With near daily news reports of both natural and man-made disasters affecting every part of this world, it’s easy to see why a preparedness plan is a good idea, yet the thought of actually creating one might be daunting.
It doesn’t have to be. Drawing on years of experience helping parishes throughout the world deal with disasters of every sort, Episcopal Relief & Development has created a program our parishes, missions, and institutions can use to create a disaster plan customized to the resources and abilities of each community that will prepare a congregation/group to handle the disasters most likely to affect their areas.
We hope you will join us to learn how to create a preparedness plan and about the many resources available through Episcopal Relief & Development (please see links below). If you have any questions about Episcopal Relief & Development, future workshops, or disaster preparedness, please email Diocese of California Disaster Preparedness Coordinator the Rev. Jane McDougle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Complete Preparedness Planning Guide for Congregations and Parishes
The Facilitator’s Guide for Complete Preparedness Planning Guide for Congregations and Parishes
The Silver Version of the Preparedness Planning Guide (Intermediate Level)
The Bronze Version of the Preparedness Planning Guide (Basic level)
Disaster Preparedness Committee handout with resources
Episcopal Relief & Development Disaster US Disaster Program
SF CARD — San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster
Bay Area Red Cross Community Disaster Education Program
Link to the book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why
Images: San Francisco Marina District corner apartment building — by J.K. Nakata, United States Geological Survey (http://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds-29/web_pages/sf.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; tsunami warning sign — by Joancharmant (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; all other images from Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain.