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Here in the Central Gulf Coast, the need to be prepared and ready to respond in the event of an emergency is always on the horizon. Careful delegation of roles and responsibilities and having a plan in place are key components to a congregation's vitality and ability to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the church, parishioners and surrounding community.

Get Going!!
  1. ​Look over plan development tools/examples including sample templates provided/linked in this message.  No one plan will answer all your questions but it is a good place to start.  Begin with the ERD Bronze plan at a minimum and build from there.

  2. Build a collaborative planning team.  Your planning team is usually composed of interested parishioners who have offered up their time and talents to this essential ministry.

  3. Involve your congregation/community.  Train other church leaders. Request your local law enforcement/fire department to provide an on-site security assessment.  Talk to the church next door; what have they done?

  4. Prioritize your risks & threats.  Ensure your dialogue includes most likely scenarios (it’s not just about hurricanes).  For example:

  • Medical Emergencies:  What happens if a parishioner faints during a service?

  • Fire Evacuation:  How do you exit / evacuate your building if the alarm goes off?

  • Hurricane / Flood:   Do you have copies of your insurance policy/phone numbers readily available

  • Active Shooter:  does your plan include how to Run, Hide, Fight?

  • Disorderly / Violent person:  What do you do if someone acts in a threatening manner towards a staff member.

Emergency Preparedness Plans for Congregations
Preparedness Planning Guides for Congregations from Episcopal Relief and Development​ (ERD)
  • Bronze Level Plan - Gathers only the most basic information to use after a disaster.

  • Silver Level Plan - A more abbreviated version that collects less information.

  • The Comprehensive Preparedness Planning Guide -  Includes steps for inventorying, protecting and mobilizing physical and human assets; identifying vulnerable people; anticipating response activities, and testing the first steps of a response.


Other Examples: 

Helpful Information

  • How to Build a Church Preparedness Team  - A Sr. Warden shares the process of how he worked with his congregation to respond to emergencies and how they established a comprehensive preparedness plan and a church safety ministry (2 pages)

  • Disaster Responses:  Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, NY - A case study after a violent act on church property; how church members worked to balance concerns about maintaining the church’s open and welcoming identity while ensuring the safety for all who use and visit their building.  (2 pages)

  • Church Insurance:  Acts of Violence against the Church –  An insurance company perspective; why it’s important to have plans in place to mitigate the risk of violence—and to be able to react appropriately and quickly in case something does happen.

  • Church Insurance:  Safety and Insurance Handbook for Churches – Distributed by CIC, this is a handy reference and guide around safety in your congregations.

More Resources
  • Active Shooter Training:  Contact your local police / fire department to schedule an active shooter training or request a Security Evaluation.  A few initial points of contact include (will be added as confirmed): 

  • Visit the Episcopal Relief and Development resource library for additional resources:


  • Visit the National Disaster Interfaith Network for tips, tools, resources:    Tip sheets Include: 

    • Active Shooter in a House of Worship

    • Disaster Backlash: Bias Crimes & Mitigation

    • ​Faith Communities & Evacuation Planning

  • Sign up for ERD’s US Disaster Program newsletter “Lamplight”, a good source of timely information including new resources and training opportunities:

  • Workshop / Risk Assessment Module (part of a series of training modules available at ERD).  Designed to create a space for participants to share stories about their fears and to discuss hazards within their community. This material includes facilitator notes, handouts for participants, discussion questions, etc.

  • Ready to Serve:   As part of the US Disaster Preparedness Initiative, ERD is building a database of volunteers who are ready and willing to respond in the event of a disaster.  If you are interested in being contacted about volunteer opportunities or disaster response trainings, please fill out the form provided in the link below.

Donate to Emergency Relief Efforts
Who to contact:

Diocesan Administrator:

Dwight Babcock

Episcopal Relief & Development Diocesan Representative:

Eugene Johnston

Discipleship. Development. Discernment.
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