Congregational Resources for Disaster Preparedness
Recently wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and freezing temperatures have affected our region. As the 2022 Hurricane Season approaches, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and its Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response recommend that all churches and diocesan institutions implement one of three Preparedness Planning Guides provided by Episcopal Relief & Development as a first step towards disaster preparedness. Congregations with existing plans should review them and make any needed adjustments or updates.
“South Texas is vulnerable to all types of natural disasters, floods, tornados, fires, and more. We want all our institutions to be thinking of disasters in general, not just hurricanes,” shared Jennifer Wickham, Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee Co-Chair. "It is increasingly important for all diocesan institutions to have a preparedness plan in place before a disaster occurs, whether it is a hurricane, flood, fire, tornado, active shooter event, pandemic, or other catastrophic occurrence."
A disaster can be an overwhelming experience, but there are actions individuals and churches can take ahead of time to help ease the response and recovery process. All disaster recovery efforts will benefit from a foundational level of preparedness. At a minimum, Episcopal Relief & Development suggests three basic steps to help ensure safety in times of disaster: make a plan, be informed, and prepare a kit.
Sample plans and other resources can be found in the Diocesan Preparedness Guide and online, at dwtx.org/resources. After completing an initial disaster preparedness plan, the Committee recommends institutions make a physical copy of the plan available in an easy to access and well-marked location. The Committee also recommends storing a digital copy online so that it can be accessed off-site if clergy or lay leaders are prevented from entering the facilities due to the disaster. Educate current staff and lay leaders about the plan and its location.
Congregations are also encouraged to update your church profile page on the Episcopal Asset Map. Updated church information found here will be invaluable as the diocese distributes donations and resources following a disaster.
AlertMedia, the Diocese’s emergency alert communication service, uses clergy and lay contact information provided by congregations. Diocesan staff can send quick messages to the entire list simultaneously or send targeted text messages or emails to specific groups within the diocesan contact list. Provided by Episcopal Relief and Development, this service helps coordinate diocesan responses to hurricanes, winter storms, and other kinds of disasters. Current AlertMedia contacts will receive a message in the coming weeks to confirm their information or change a congregation's point of contact.
Diocesan churches and institutions with questions about choosing a planning guide or disaster preparedness may contact Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee Co-Chairs Jennifer Wickham, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jason Louis, at email@example.com.
- Click here to read detailed descriptions of each Disaster Preparedness Guide on the Disaster Preparedness & Response Committee webpage.
- Click here for disaster preparedness resources from the Centers for Disease and Control, including adjustments for COVID-19 precautions.
- Click here to access the Episcopal Relief & Development Resource Library.
- Click here to access the 2022 Hurricane Guide in English and Spanish.
- Click here for hurricane preparedness webinars from NWS Corpus Christi.
- Click here for The National Hurricane Center and NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team (SECART) hurricane awareness webinar series.