Faith-based organizations are an integral part of recovery efforts in communities struck by disaster – whether it is housing people who have lost their homes, feeding volunteers, cleaning up debris or distributing relief supplies.
"Because of the important role these organizations play, it's critical that they have a plan to continue their operations during a disaster," said Eric Evans, community emergency management specialist with University of Missouri Extension. "By having a continuity of operations plan, these organizations can survive an emergency physically, operationally and fiscally."
Faith-based organizations throughout Missouri can learn about developing a continuity of operations plan during a series of workshops scheduled from now through September.
The Regional Mass Care Citizen Preparedness and Emergency Human Services Symposiums are open to congregation members of all faiths.
Eleven two-day workshops are scheduled across the state. Funded by the Governor's Faith-Based Initiative, there is no cost to participants.
Using a train-the-trainer model, participants will learn the steps for putting together an emergency operations plan using templates that they can take back to their congregation.
Participants also will learn about the roles that faith-based organizations can play in disaster response and recovery. "Involving faith-based organizations in disaster relief means greater capacity to take care of human needs when an emergency impacts the community or state," Evans said.
One goal of the symposium is to increase emergency sheltering capacity to 10 percent of the state's population. The current capacity is about 1 percent, Evans said.
Participants also will be trained to teach congregation members about individual and family preparedness.
Schedule of Workshops
- July 14 and 15 - Concordia Lutheran Church, 505 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Perry, Pike, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Warren and Washington counties
- July 16 and 17 - Concordia Lutheran Church, 505 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties
- July 28 and 29 - Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 402 N. Rollins, Macon Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby and Sullivan counties
- Aug. 1 and 2 - Cabool Second Baptist Church, 13475 Industrial Drive, Cabool Carter, Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Reynolds, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties
- Aug. 7 and 8 - First Christian Church, 101 E. Gay St., Warrensburg Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clay, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Platte, Ray and Saline counties
- Aug. 11 and 12 - First Baptist Church, 801 N. Cedar St., Rolla Crawford, Dent, Laclede, Maries, Phelps and Pulaski counties
- Aug. 21 and 22 - Woods Chapel United Methodist Church, 4725 N.E. Lakewood Way, Lee's Summit Clay, Cass, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties
- Sept. 8 and 9 - First United Methodist Church, 500 N. Main St., Poplar Bluff Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne counties
- Sept. 12 and 13 - St. Elizabeth Anne Seaton Catholic Church, 2200 W. Republic Road, Springfield