Tips For Ministry: Serving Communities Affected By Fire
Once again our California communities are being affected by fire and many of our ministry folks are offering to help. This time it’s the County Fire in the Sacramento area, which has expanded to 70,000 acres and is only five percent contained.
Please, please make sure that your church, congregation, and community are safe.
If your church is looking for ways to serve those in your community who have been impacted, and you are considering opening your doors as a shelter, please consider these 10 things:
- Do you know how many people your ministry facility can handle while remaining within the constraints of fire codes and other local ordinances?
- Can you limit the areas of your building to which shelter guests will have access?
- Do you have a ministry disaster response team in place that can minister to and monitor the activities of the people in your facility on a 24/7 basis?
- Will you maintain a record of the name of everyone you house within your facility as well as the names of relatives to contact in the event of an emergency?
- Does everyone in the shelter have access to, or are they informed of, your building’s evacuation plan?
- Does your ministry have specific procedures in place to address any unlawful activities that may occur in your building?
- Have you considered what you will do with any valuables or weapons that disaster victims may have in their possession when they enter your shelter and the risks associated with securing them on your property?
- Have you considered how, or if, you will prepare food on-site for the refugees at your facility? You may want to consult with your local health department before making this decision.
- Have you considered how you will address and maintain sanitary conditions for refugees at your facility, including shower facilities for both genders and trash removal?
- Have you considered how you will address the safety needs of the children who might stay at your facility?
If you’re a ChurchWest Insurance client and do open a shelter, please let our team know so that we can look for ways that insurance coverage may be available to help cover the clean-up costs after those you shelter are able to return home.
Finally, here are a few fire-related resources we’ve put together for you:
Establishing an emergency service command center on your campus:
Best practices for preventing fire damage to your church campus: