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Disaster Response Plan

2020 Severe Weather Disaster Response Plan 

The Office of the Bishop has responsibility to shepherd and resource rostered leaders and congregations in times of disaster. The Bishop administers the response through the Disaster Response Director, Jim Habermehl.  

The Florida-Bahamas Synod and the Office of the Bishop will work with local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as ecumenical and civic disaster response groups to mitigate risk and provide quick and effective disaster response 

 

Disaster Response Procedures 

  1.  In the event of severe weather, the Office of the Bishop, specifically, the Disaster Response Director, will coordinate emergency response through Conference Deans. The Office of the Bishop will communicate via email and social media.

  2.  In the event a Tropical Storm Watch or a Hurricane Watch is issued by the National Weather Service, the Disaster Response Director will communicate to all Deans in the watch area within the next 48 hours. Deans in Conferences within the watch area will be expected to contact all congregations in their Conference and advise them to prepare their properties as appropriate.

  3.  In the event a Tropical Storm Warning or a Hurricane Warning is issued by the National Weather Service, the Disaster Response Director will communicate to all Deans within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Deans in Conferences within the warning area will be expected to contact all congregations in their Conference and advise them to complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if so, directed by area officials.

  4.  Within 8 hours after a Tropical Storm or Hurricane has impacted an area, the Disaster Response Director will schedule a conference call for all Deans to assess impact, damage and for those unaffected, to assess ability to respond.

  5.  The Bishop, the Disaster Response Director, and deans, will visit the affected areas as soon as practical.

  6.  Mr. Habermehl will be in communication with the bishop, deployed staff, and Deans to address the immediate needs and the most effective ways to shepherd and resource rostered leaders and congregations.

  7.  Deans and contact persons in affected areas should continue to provide regular updates to Jim Habermehl at jimh@fbsynod.org or call (804) 926-4129.

  8.  Mr. Habermehl will coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as Lutheran Disaster Response, the Florida VOAD and Volunteer Florida to identify the most appropriate and effective responses and responsibilities.

  9.  Volunteers will be coordinated through the Disaster Response Director.

Financial contributions may be made: 

  •  To the Florida-Bahamas Synod Disaster Response fund, specifically designating “Disaster Response’ by mail: 

                     Florida-Bahamas Synod 

                     3838 West Cypress Street 

                     Tampa, FL 33607  

                      Lutheran Domestic Disaster Response 

                      P.O. Box #71764 

                     Chicago, IL 60694-7164   

The following forms are to be used when reporting damage from a disaster to the synod office, or when requesting financial assistance.

Additional Resources for Preparation, Response, and Recovery

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) has prepared a booklet titled “Preparing for Disaster: a Guide for Lutheran Congregations.”  This guide includes tips for understanding the difference between ‘rescue,’ ‘relief’ and ‘recovery,’ preparing your congregation, serving the community after a disaster, and checklists for both congregations and families.
Helping out after a disaster
Weeks, months and even years after a natural disaster is no longer news, an impacted congregation will still need assistance to recover and come back stronger and better prepared for the future. If you choose to provide assistance to those in need, first consider the best way to do so. For information about the work of the ELCA’s Lutheran Disaster Response, visit its website or contact the LDR team directly at 773-380-2863.
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) web site includes tips on developing a family communication plan, what to do 6-36 hours before a hurricane, and what to do after a hurricane.
FEMA lists several resources for houses of worship, including an At-A-Glance Guide, webinars and trainings, resources from federal partners and trauma, resilience and stress management resources.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) provides first-level response in the face of disaster.  This link will take you to where you can locate a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in your area.