CONGREGATIONAL DISASTER READINESS INITIATIVE
Communication and coordination are the most powerful predictors of success in disaster response. Coordinated delivery of relief and recovery services prevents redundancy, saves money, minimizes disruption of services and improves outcomes.
The mission of the Congregational Disaster Readiness Initiative is to expedite relief and recovery in communities impacted by a disaster.
This program is a COMPREHENSIVE, COLLABORATIVE, and COHERENT (3C’s) action plan for congregations to effectively deliver essential relief and recovery services during and after a disaster, in partnership with and in support of responsible agencies.
Generate a single umbrella group which will integrate and coordinate the efforts of all congregations within an area and ensure that these plans are:
Inclusive of the needs of all stakeholders (survivors and service partners).
Integrated with, and supported by, the responsible official relief organizations.
Identify, recruit, organize, train, and mobilize congregations to respond in an integrated and cooperative manner during disasters.
Create shareable standards, best practices, and establish centralized communication.
Coordinate and deploy relief and recovery efforts.
Enhanced community resilience
Improved quality, consistency, and coverage of services
Expedited relief and recovery for families and neighborhoods
Development of leaders and trained volunteers within congregations
Decreased service cost by eliminating redundant services
Increased community engagement and situational awareness
Financial sustainability for local disaster relief and recovery groups
More accessible support services for congregations and the community
How to Connect:
Coordination of the relief and recovery efforts of congregations, including:
Communication Taskforce: Creating a multi-level, two-way communication platform to address a diversity of communication needs for alerting, recruiting, deploying and demobilizing response.
Sheltering Short and long-term Red Cross sheltering and/or ride-out sheltering.
Laundry Supporting shelters by helping survivors wash their clothes.
Medical Support Assist with non-emergency assistance, such as picking up prescriptions or driving survivors to doctors’ office.
Pets Help families to care for their pets (dogs and cats), providing kennels and food, while they are staying in a shelter.
Muck & Gut Removing damaged contents and sanitizing the home, according to standards.
Compassionate Care / PreDCM Trained caregivers provide emotional and spiritual care to survivors, serving as a listening ear, a calming presence, and laying the groundwork for Disaster Case Management, initiating documentation and reporting.
Chainsaw / Clean Up Cutting up fallen trees and disposing of debris.
Supplies Distribution Center (supplying congregations) Regional warehouse to supply congregations serving as a donation distribution centers.
Donations Distribution Center (supplying survivors) Distribute essential supplies to survivors and maintaining a database of all survivors for follow-up.
Volunteer Coordination Connecting volunteers with opportunities for service.
About Our Teams
One of the keys to our success will be our team’s preparedness for the disaster. Our teams need to be equipped to serve and be confident they can help when called. Every good team has a playbook. A good playbook identifies the team leader(s), the team members, and their contact information. It identifies the training required for the team, their work methods, work standards, and the tools and supplies they will require. The playbook includes everything a team needs to know about their service, where the team will gather, where they will serve, and what they will do. It contains a list of resources the team can call if they need help.
We pray that all of our teams be equipped to serve with confidence.
Every team will have a team leader and may have assistant team leaders. The team leader will maintain contact information for their team members.
Every team will be a member of a service team led by a service leader. There will be a service team for each service (e.g., Pets, Muck & Gut, Laundry, or Shelters).
A team may be required to demonstrate they meet minimum qualifications for service. For example, the Red Cross has minimum expectations for shelters or muck and gut teams may be asked to assure they have the proper equipment available. The service team will set the minimum qualifications or each service.
There will be expectations for how each service is to be performed. The service team will establish and communicate these expectations through published standards for each service.
Teams will need training to meet performance standards. The service teams will develop training and train team leaders or teams. We expect most service teams will adopt a train the team leader approach to training. Some teams may elect to offer training to individuals or groups that are not part of a CDR team.
Many teams will need tools or equipment to perform their assigned services. The service team will determine the tools and equipment that each team will need to acquire.
Teams will understand where they need to muster for service. Some teams will serve in a pre-determined service location (e.g., shelter, distribution center or laundry teams). Other teams will serve a geographic area (e.g., certain streets, all or part of a subdivision, census blocks, or ZIP codes.)
The CDR and the local Readiness Coalitions (groups of regionally defined congregations that act in concert) will maintain a service coverage map of the pre-assigned service areas. The CDR and local Readiness Coalitions will work to recruit teams to cover all vulnerable areas. Most disasters will not require a county-wide mobilization of all service teams. The CDR will ask to mobilize only those service teams necessary to respond to the disaster given its geographic dimension and its nature. (e.g., floods will not require chain saw teams, and tornadoes will not require muck and gut teams.) The CDR may ask teams to volunteer to serve outside of their assigned areas as required.
Each team will understand how it will be asked to mobilize and what status reports it will be asked to provide. Some teams will be mobilized by and will report back to the CDR. Other teams may be mobilized by and report back to a third-party agency such as the Red Cross. Other teams may be mobilized by and report back to a local readiness coalition. Other teams will be mobilized by their local congregation and will report back to their local congregation.
The CDR will maintain contact information for all team leader(s), service leaders, readiness coalitions, congregations, and agencies.
The request to mobilize CDR teams will be initiated by the OEM (the Harris County Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Management) and communicated to the CDR. The CDR will communicate directly with teams, agencies, readiness coalitions, and congregations as planned.
Once mobilized, teams may be asked to provide status reports as the CDR and OEM will want to monitor performance and provide assistance as needed.
Last, each team will be able to consult with the members of their service team to get advice on how to handle unanticipated situations.
Communication will be multi-channel and persistent. Messages will be sent by voice, text, email, and through a smartphone app (multi-channel). The messages will be repeated until a response is received (persistent).
Most messages will require only a simple response. For example, a request for a team to mobilize might look like this:
Mobilize by 9 AM Tuesday. Respond: 1 – Can do; 2- will be delayed no more than three hours; 3- will be delayed no more than 6 hours; 4 – will be delayed one day; or 5-unable to mobilize.
Periodic status reporting will be important in the hours and days following a disaster. The communications system will support simplified reporting of each team’s status. A request for a status report might look like this:
Report status as of 9 PM Wednesday. Respond: 1 – operating at less than 50% of capacity; 2 – operating at less than 85% of capacity; 3 – operating at 85%-100% of capacity; 4- demands exceed capacity to serve; 5- unable to mobilize to full capacity.
Two-way communication of more detailed messages will be supported as will specialized web event pages that contain additional information for teams including standards or reference materials, pictures, videos, or more lengthy communications.
Express your interest in serving once details are available.
Help serve on one or more of the service teams to establish service team qualifications, training materials, performance standards, and service expectations. Help communicate the need for Congregational Disaster Readiness.