Emergency and Disaster Recovery Planning

August 30, 2012 - 2 minutes read

Emergency-planEmergency and disaster recovery plans are essential in case of a crisis such as fire, natural disaster or severe weather event. This involves first determining the types of hazards that could occur in your locality, and then taking steps to develop a broad-ranging plan in case of these catastrophes.

Your plan should include procedures for emergency situations, and designate personnel to be in charge of the required actions. Matters to consider include:

  • Procedures for evacuation – this involves providing a safe place for congregants, staff and visitors to gather in an emergency situation, and the provision of at least two safe escape routes to get there.
  • Utility shut-offs – it’s important to know where and how to do this if required in an emergency.
  • Communication procedures – including contact with emergency services and other sources.
  • Emergency supply kit – in case people become trapped in the building for a time period. This may need to include bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets and other items.
  • Medical assistance – includes determining who will be in charge of First Aid, and where any required treatment should take place.
  • Fire-safety equipment use – in the case of fire it’s important to have personnel who are fully trained in all aspects of fire-safety.
  • Floor plan of the property – this should be on display and should clearly indicate all exits and escape routes.
  • Procedures for the protection of assets and vital records – this should include computer back-ups onto external storage devices, and the protection of important documents.

Following a disaster situation, your organisation should have procedures in place for recovery. Some considerations for this include:

  • Site security and safety.
  • Salvage of contents.
  • Debris removal if required.
  • Appointment of contractors for repair work.
  • Lodging of insurance claims.
  • Alternative premises if required while repairs are being done.

In addition, depending on the size of your church, you may want to appoint an emergency plan officer or a committee to oversee matters of safety and disaster response and recovery.

You can read more posts on emergency planning here.

Written by Tess Oliver



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