Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregations partnered with emergency services to provide information and services in case of serious disaster.
If a disaster strikes your community, who or what would you consult in order to save your family? If you live in San Mateo County, California, it may be your local congregation, reports the San Mateo County Times . The Peninsula Clergy Network approached and partnered with agencies like the county's Office of Emergency Services to organize and train congregation leaders for disaster preparedness and response. This program started with Redwood City congregations, with 25 of 50 participating in a certification process. Leaders learned about safety procedures in case something happens at home or during services, and they surveyed their facilities for space to offer as shelter or part of a response center. OES plans to develop a version of its e-mail and text notification system tool, SMC Alert, to inform congregation leaders during times of emergency. The Redwood City Fire Department served in an advisory and support role to PCN, including helping with setting up an emergency preparedness drill. The program is expected to expand to county congregations at large. Similar disaster preparedness initiatives are in places like Maryland, where private and nonprofit entities registered with the state's emergency management agency to provide assistance in case of disaster.