The National Weather Service has a great site with short tips and suggestions about being informed and on watch during severe weather. In addition to education and knowledge, practice is extremely important. Some things to consider:
According to Ready.gov, the best safety plans have five parts: Program Management, Planning, Implementation, Testing and Exercise, and Program Improvement
Churches usually do a very good job at the first two, but the last three get lost. Training, drills and revision need to be an intentional scheduled part of your community’s rhythm, otherwise it just won’t happen.
Who is in charge of your safety plan?
When and how do you train leaders to be ready to execute the plan?
How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your plan?
Have you considered consulting with area law enforcement or emergency manager to evaluate your plans?
Do you have a regular review of safety procedures?
When was the last time your church had a “tornado drill”? If you have never had a drill during peak hours, it might be time. Yes, I am talking about an interruption to your “normal” Sunday schedule to practice where you go and how you get to those safe spaces.
Consider joining a community safety movement like America’s PrepareAthon! That would mean that your drill would be a coordinated effort with others in your community, so it would feel less like a drill and more like community participation.
In recent days, my neighborhood has become incredibly waterlogged and flood prone. It really has me aware of where the areas of the danger areas of my neighborhood. Another thing to consider, where are your church’s danger zones? Do you have a sidewalk that always floods over? Do you have a low place in your yard that becomes a pond? Signage, redirection and awareness are needed precautions. Be sure to have plan to make your community aware of these dangerous places.
All in all, this is not intended to make your paranoid about severe weather or dangerous scenarios. It is intended to make you ready so that a storm doesn’t turn into a disaster.
Prayers for safety and blessings on your preparation.
Resources to check-out:
Help and Hope: Disaster Preparedness and Response Tools for Congregations