By Tommy Deal, U.S. Disaster Response Director for CBF
Like you, I am more than keenly interested in what this week’s wintry weather may have for us. Two weeks ago I was one of those who found myself on I-75 attempting to go north through Atlanta to get home. However, I heeded the warnings and didn’t venture into Atlanta and spent two nights in a warm room at Holiday Inn Express in Forsyth, Georgia. There I watched the news and weather reports advising folks to stay put.
I am no prognosticator about things to come, but I am one who likes to prepare for the unlikely and then be glad when I do not have to enact the plans. While we have had about one inch of snow so far near Dalton, there is concern that the next 48 hours could bring more snow and icing over. It is the icing that gives me pause to consider what I need to do.
This morning I pulled out my portable generator (from my hurricane-prone area days!), filled it with fresh gasoline, started it and ran it for twenty minutes. I did this to assure that I would have some power to run a few lights and small appliances, etc. if we lose electricity in the next few days. Oh, and I went to the grocery store yesterday!
What do YOU need to do to be prepared? Remember to care for #1 and family first!
What about your CHURCH? Two weeks ago, I sent out some ideas that any/every church should consider in the next few days. Please keep in mind that not all weather “events” are disasters—unless of course it affects you! So, be prepared. Take precautions. Help your neighbors and the most vulnerable in your congregation and community. How can your church be Christ’s ambassadors of warmth and shelter in this cold, wintry weather?
Here is the information previously shared:
1) Have a plan to check on congregation members who may be at risk. Shut-ins, elderly, handicapped, sick, etc. Make sure they have adequate heat, food, water, etc. Assure they have someone to check in with, or designate a member (deacon?) to do that one and two days after the storm
2) What supplies could the church collect now in order to be able to distribute if necessary?
- Warm coats
- Baby food and diapers
3) How can your facilities be of use to your congregation and community?
- Icing usually brings with it power lines pulled down by falling trees and limbs
- Home electricity may be hampered
- Church electricity may be within first grids to be restored
- Provide warm shelter to members and neighbors. If so, have a team present round the clock (this can be done in lieu of or until the Red Cross or other designee establishes sheltering.)
4) Have able-bodied persons ready to go help those in need
- Shovel snow or clear ice
- Remove debris around entryway of home, church, etc.
- Those with properly equipped vehicles can provide transportation to those who need it for medical appointments, to get to shelters, etc.
- Those with properly equipped vehicles can provide transportation for those who must get to work but cannot on their own (i.e., health care providers, etc.)
5) Check in with local government official(s) (City/County Emergency Management) to
- Offer assistance which you have determined you can (shelter, transportation, feeding, etc.)
- Notify them of what you have available for community
6) Use this as an opportunity to be a warm Light in a cold, dark time for your community.