Disasters can strike any small town or city without warning and often residents turn to their local leaders for assistance. Clergy and community leaders have and take a considerable amount of responsibility for their congregations and folks they represent. It is expected that these leaders respond quickly and be ready to open the doors when a tornado devastates a neighborhood or an entire community is flooded.
If these are the expectations for leaders to respond to disaster, isn’t it equally as important to engage and prepare everyone beforehand? Organizations and churches have connections to large groups of people living in certain communities. If emergency preparedness leaders are looking to create an effective campaign to inform the public, it makes sense to encourage these people to participate.
Local clergy and religious leaders have the opportunity to reach out to their members through bulletins or events to encourage preparation. As faith leaders, they are trusted and have the possibility for high numbers of registrations for local emergency notifications. It is important for them to educate and understand the risks facing their communities and share those with their congregations. There are many resources that can be used and be a guide for preparedness. Faith leaders can create and opt-out or opt-in system for their congregations, however, opt-out may be more effective, as it would have higher enrollment numbers. Events can be planned to inform and notify the community of the proposed enrollment campaign like Crenshaw Christian Church in Los Angeles which held its 2nd Annual Preparedness Sunday last month or the many other events organized around the country!
This active role of community and faith leaders can save lives and participation should be inspired by their commitment to serving others.