Planning for a fire, earthquake, flood, tsunami, or other disaster is essential for all churches. We are hubs of human activity. Even if the plan is for handling a slip and fall, or a heat stroke, the basics remain the same and can be transferred to larger disasters. The basics include:
- The appointment of a disaster team. Each member should have a copy of the plan and should be familiar with its contents
- Day and night telephone numbers of the clergy, wardens, police, fire department, utilities and insurance company, and members of the disaster team.
- Evacuation procedures, including the location of emergency exits.
- Locations of fire extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinklers, and smoke and fire detectors.
- Instructions as to how to turn off gas, electric power, and water.
- A priority list and the location of items and records to be saved first, for the Fire Department.
- A list of emergency services, with names and telephone numbers.
- The location of emergency supplies.
Other helpful tips:
Conduct regular disaster drills and inform your local fire departments to encourage their participation and input. Keep original copies of insurance policies off-site. Keep offsite copies of all important computer files, including regular back-up copies of electronic data.