Nongovernmental and Volunteer Organization Preparedness

Churches-Underutilized Preparedness Resources

Many Church buildings have had the Civil Defense Logo attached to the edifices for years. Previous generations in government saw churches as integral to the process of Homeland Security/Civil Defense. Why aren't we utilizing Pastors and church members in specialized training for emergencies? They are the places communities reach out to or go to in times of trouble. Studies show that clergy and churches are seen as "shelter in times of a storm", but they are woefully unprepared. PREPARE THEM! Regardless of the type of facility from cathedral to 'storefront' each one can be trained to provide specific services from triage to shelter, from inflatable dinghies in the cellar to safety gear and life jackets stored under the pews. Conduct an assessment of our national church facility resources and let's be serious about truly being a prepared nation.

Pastors and religious leaders can be trained at local, state and national denominational meetings . They are held on regular schedules. Many have divisions or units for preparedness, but they are not stressed or mandatory. Local ministerial alliances or professional bodies often meet weekly in many towns and cities-mandate training!

Rev. Anita Burson, New York City

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Idea No. 230