When a disaster is imminent or has occurred, local authorities take immediate steps to warn and evacuate its citizens, alleviate suffering, and protect life and property. The disaster authority and responsibility is a function of state and local governments, usually centered in the state Emergency Management Agency and local counterparts. The local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will call upon the American Red Cross (ARC), Salvation Army and other government recognized disaster response agencies for support. After the initial emergency response, the member organizations of Volunteers Organizations Active in Response (VOAD) and similar volunteer groups respond. If the situation exceeds local relief resources, regional, state and federal assistance can be asked for. When federal assistance is requested and the United States President declares a “federal disaster,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will bring support.
In the event of a disaster, existing local resources of our church (i.e. volunteers, money, expertise, etc.) are oftentimes limited. This is where the connectional system of the United Methodist Church can provide support and resources to our church to respond effectively and appropriately. The following individuals and teams may be active in disaster response in the California-Nevada Conference as a positive force, independent of the nature, size and location of the disaster:
· The Bishop, UMVIM Director and District Superintendents
· Conference and District Disaster Response Coordinators
· The Conference Disaster Response Committee
· The Conference Disaster Response Advisory Board
· Disaster Response Center staff (DRC)
· Volunteers in Mission
· Local Church Pastors and Disaster Response Coordinators
The objective of the FUMC/SR Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan is to help our church learn about disaster response needs and resources in the areas, evaluate the disaster response capabilities and develop plans and protocols to assist in responding to the community following a disaster through preparing the facilities, training members, securing supplies, and responding to the needs of the congregation and community.
This plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of those involved in disaster response as well as outlining processes to ensure the seamless flow of information and assistance to those affected by disaster.