Recommended Resources for Hurricane Season Preparedness
As part of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and its Commission on Disaster Preparedness and Response recommend 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, for any needed adjustments.
Faced with the possibilities of overlapping events, 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/disasterresponse. After completing an initial disaster preparedness plan, the Commission recommends institutions make a physical copy of the plan available in an easy to access and well-marked location. The Commission 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 staff and lay leaders about the plan and its location.
Congregations are encouraged to update your church profile page on the Episcopal Asset Map. Updated church information found here will be invaluable as we combine gifts and resources following a disaster.
Additionally in 2019, the Diocese implemented an emergency alert communication service, called AlertMedia. Using 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. 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 Jennifer Wickham, Disaster Preparedness and Response Commission Co-Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Click here to read detailed descriptions of each Disaster Preparedness Guide on the Disaster Preparedness & Response Commission 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.