The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina partners with other state and national organizations to offer help in recovery once disasters have occurred. Churches and individuals are encouraged to prepare flood buckets to have on hand when the need arises. Our first response is prayer, since we are not a first responder organization. However, CBFSC strives to be ready in a way that is appropriate to the situation, and you can help by contributing to the Disaster Response fund.
CBFSC also encourages disaster preparedness for everyone. Click here to visit the SC Emergency Management Division web site. The SCEMD provides South Carolinians with the most up to date information on emergency planning, and many other resources.
If you have any questions regarding Disaster Response through CBF or how you and your church can participate or volunteer, please contact our Disaster Response Coordinator, Wayne Patterson, or Associate Coordinator, Lane Riley.
Donate to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina for Disaster Response efforts.
Resources are available through the S.C. Emergency Management Division. They offer preparedness and recovery information, printed materials, links to weather and emergency alerts, and training regarding disasters in South Carolina. Click to view the current South Carolina Hurricane Guide, or the South Carolina Earthquake Guide.
For up-to-date information about Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s disaster response involvement around the United States, visit CBF’s disaster response blog.
Tips for Disaster Response Teams
Many churches are working to identify and organize volunteers and hands-on disaster recovery projects in the wake of recent hurricanes. Below are some tips to guide that preparation, courtesy of Bob Barker, CBF Heartland’s Disaster Response Coordinator.
1. Skills Inventory
In order to advise coordinators in the disaster site about your team’s abilities, it is good to assess each member’s skills. Such knowledge allows their staff to efficiently plan projects for your team. They may provide a survey form or you can devise your own. The levels range from unskilled to professional. Areas of labor would be framing, drywall, painting, landscaping, etc. Please remember as team members are enlisted: THERE ARE NO UNIMPORTANT JOBS!
2. Waiver Forms
Your organization will probably want its own volunteer release and waiver of liability form to protect its interests. On site groups may have their own waiver they will want completed as well. Consideration may be given as to whether a background check is needed, depending on the location and type of work being done. At some point, emergency medical treatment should be addressed. Contact information back home is vital.
3. Health Issues
Individual health insurance coverage is encouraged. Proof of such can vary from a team member’s statement or a copy of their insurance card. A group policy can often be purchased that is specifically for a given time and include travel. A questionnaire will help identify health concerns, dietary matters, etc. It is highly encouraged that team members be current on vaccinations, especially tetanus.
Team leaders can find suggestions on the internet regarding areas to cover in team
preparation. Certainly two major concerns are heat exhaustion and dehydration. OSHA has good information to research online.
4. Safety Policies
Again, OSHA has good suggestions for several areas to cover with your team. For example, no loose clothing or open-toed shoes. Discussion is given to use of power tools, ladders, safety glasses and more.
5. Tools and Equipment
Some team members will want to carry their own tools. That may or may not be necessary; on site leaders can best advise about this matter. Consideration may be given to purchasing tools and donating them to local groups for future use. Some teams will have their own tool trailer. Care should be taken that team members are informed or trained to use tools with which they are not familiar.
6. Local Requirements
Permits may be required to enter property in order to accomplish a given task. Some organizations may ask for sign-in/sign-out sheets. A record of volunteer hours may help them receive reimbursement for your team’s work. At least it helps record the total hours given to the recovery effort.
Starting the day with a team prayer is encouraged. Ending the day with a time to report and process impressions is also important. Team members can help local residents by listening with empathy and attempting to understand their dilemma. It is good to avoid clichés and “quick fixes.” Simply listening can be meaningful. When appropriate, prayer with the victims can be offered. Not everyone may be comfortable with prayer requests.
One key word for team members is “flexibility.” Housing, sleeping arrangements, meals, work assignments, travel modes, and more issues can be “testy.” It is important to practice “servant-hearted” ministry. We do not control the circumstances around us, but we do control our attitude. Reflecting Jesus is undoubtedly the ideal we strive to accomplish.