Disaster preparedness is planning to mitigate the effects of a disaster (emergency). The plan normally includes preparation and response. Disasters affect Oregon parishes either through loss of their facilities or area-wide events. The latter include weather (wind, snow, ice), fire (multi-dwelling and wildfire), geological (earthquake and landslides), and disease (Spanish flu). Planning can be basic: how to continue when parish facilities are lost. It can be more comprehensive such as assisting with response or recovery after an event.
The Episcopal Church involvement in disaster preparedness began in 2005 with a National Executive Council initiative as the US Disaster Program* Since then, most dioceses in the U.S. are actively stressing diocesan and parish planning as well as developing actions to aid others in a disaster.
A primary resource for disaster planning is the Episcopal Asset Map, which, in times of disaster or emergency, will serve as a framework for assessment and response, showing a disaster's impact and how local bodies are responding. At all time, the map can serve as a platform to connect and inspire.
Both clergy and lay are urged to undertake these actions. Each diocese, including Oregon, has a Diocesan Disaster Coordinator reporting to the bishop’s office. This person has several important roles:
- Encourage and assist parishes with planning.
- Provide appropriate training throughout the Diocese.
- Serve as the coordinator between the Diocese and parishes both with disaster preparedness and in a disaster.
- Act a representative for the Diocese on area-wide and state-wide coordinating organizations.
- Be the liaison between the Diocese and US Disaster Program.
Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Team:
- Coordinator, Sheryl Gerety (Emannuel, Coos Bay), 530-2179183, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rich Halter (St. Hilda, Monmouth), 541-740-5970, email@example.com
Episcopal Relief and Development Coordinator:
- The Rev. Deacon Annette Rankin, firstname.lastname@example.org
*US Disaster Program, To inspire, connect and equip leaders of the Episcopal Church and its partners to: Prepare for all-hazards that might effect communities, Mitigate the impact of those disasters, Help the vulnerable make a full and sustained recovery."
Earthquake Preparedness Presentation
- Earthquakes and Preparedness Powerpoint with Audio Narration
- Earthquake Preparedness Powerpoint (no audio)
- Earthquake Preparedness Powerpoint Narrative Script
This powerpoint presentation covers how to prepare to an earthquake. The first version contains a narrative that will play with the slides. The second has a script available. Each is designed to last less than 30 minutes. They are appropriate for a time just after service or between services.
Congregational Preparedness Planning Templates
There are two levels with templates: the Basic Disaster Preparedness Plan which concentrates on preparing for, responding to, and mitigating disasters which affect the church facilities and Comprehensive Disaster Plan which identifies how the parish can help prepare for and respond to disasters which affect their community or even other communities.
- Basic Disaster Preparedness Plan
Basic Disaster Preparedness Planning Template - This document guides the parish in its planning.
- Comprehensive Disaster Preparedness Guide
Comprehensive Preparedness Planning Guide, Oregon version 11-3-14 - This document shown as a .PDF file provides guidance in preparing more comprehensive plans. Generally, it is completed after the Basic Plan. However, it incorporates the Basic Disaster Preparedness Plan in the event the congregation wishes to start at this level.
- Emergency Response Guide from Trinity Cathedral
Trinity Cathedral in Portland has developed an Emergency Resources Guide which is designed to give guidance in a wide range of emergencies. It covers communications, disasters, other emergencies including gas leaks and suspicious persons. For parishes that may be interested in tailoring the Guide to their needs, they should contact the Cathedral Administrator, Katie Bronson at email@example.com
Emergency Response Guide Trinity PDX
- Photographic and Video Inventory on Church Assets Guide
This document is still in development
Each parish is strongly urged to inventory their physical assets. Recommended is the use of digital photographic and/or video recording. A copy of the recording should be kept offsite. The Comprehensive Disaster Planning Guide also contains forms for manual inventories. (Suggested photographic and videogaphic methods are being developed)
- Disaster Preparedness Articles
Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Cycle
Disaster Preparedness for Parishes
- Communicating Closures and Emergency Information to Parishes
Times occur when parish facilities are closed. Such must be communicated to the parishioners. Often closures are weather related; however, there are also expected events, e.g., impending tsunami, flooding. where such information should be passed to reinforce warnings from weather authorities or communities. The linked document suggests protocols for communications. They are based on using multiple methods for alert. They recognize parish and community size. These guidelines should become part of the parish disaster preparedness planning; they may not apply to all events or parishes size. Regardless, a chain of responsibility for initiating the emergency communications is needed in the event that the key responsible person, e.g., rector, is not available.
Communicating Emergency Information to Parish
- Personal/Family Emergency Preparedness Kit
The linked document identifies items that every family should have in preparation for any disaster or emergency. It is divided into three sections: loss of power (remain in home), major disaster (remain in home), and evacuation. The checklist has been developed from multiple sources including AARP and the Red Cross. This list will be reviewed and adjusted as suggestions for additions or changes are made.
Personal Preparedness Checklist – Handout
Preparing an Emergency Food Supply Infographic
Episcopal Asset Map
Episcopal Relief and Development, US Disaster Program
This site has a variety of sources directed toward planning, preparedness, and responses to disasters and other emergencies. It includes plans from parishes and dioceses in the US.
Communications During a Disaster
Even if the event does not affect the parish directly, it may involve using its resources. The parish should the Bishop’s Office, and then the Diocesan Disaster Coordinator who will work with responding agencies. Note: local and state emergency management agencies are the primary responders. Likewise, The Red Cross and Salvation Army provide food and shelter. The parish should not consider assisting except their own members or if it has specific skills which are requested. In the latter case, notify the Diocesan Disaster Coordinator to help eliminate duplicate requests.
Disaster Assistant Agencies
– Police, Fire, Medical, and Emergency Services Disaster Agencies (ESDA), Emergency Management Agencies (EMA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
– Red Cross
– Salvation Army
Oregon Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disasters (ORVOAD)
The role of ORVOAD is to coordinate assistance from volunteer organizations such as the Diocese of Oregon which is a member. If assistance is needed from the Diocese through its parishes, the Diocesan Coordinator or the Bishop’s Close will make contact with them. Other members are shown in the list below:
- American Red Cross
- Oregon Food Bank
- The Church of the Latter-day Saints
- Oregon Health Authority
- US Corps of Engineers
- The Churches of Scientology
- The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
- Mennonite Disaster Services
- Clackamas County COAD
- The Salvation Army
- Church World Service
- Christian Reform World Relief Committee
- Oregon Emergency Management
- United Methodist Committee on Relief