Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities of the Pastors

Leadership by the pastors is extremely important.  For many, a pastor’s appearance at the disaster site symbolizes the “awesome presence” of Christ and the commitment of His church to relieve the suffering.  Don’t dismiss or minimize the values of symbols to people who are hurting.  The pastor’s role as a symbol of a caring church cannot be filled by anyone else!  The conference recommends the wearing of the clerical collar while in a disaster area which not only symbolizes your role but also serves as a form of identification to emergency service workers and others who see you.

Congregants receiving a visit in aid stations and hospitals are grateful that their pain was important enough for the pastor to set aside routine business.  A disaster is a tragedy and the church cannot conduct “business as usual” in the aftermath. 

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes

1. Appoint, or have the Leadership Committee select, a Disaster Response Coordinator.  Support formation of a Disaster Response Committee to oversee the church Disaster Preparation and Response Plan.  Members of this committee should include: the Disaster Response Coordinator, the UMVIM Coordinator, the Operations Manager, a fiscal officer, a communicator and a trustee representative.  Be sure that you are represented on the committee and/or informed about its work. 

2. Advocate and support other organizations or groups preparing to take part in disaster response in addition to their normal functions.  Stephens Ministers, Trustees, Finance, United Methodist Women and others will all play a significant role in the coordinated response to a disaster.  A combined, coordinated effort may be essential to surviving a disaster.

3. Inform whoever acts on your behalf when you are out of the office that he or she has the responsibility to implement the disaster response plan when disaster strikes (this authority should also be given to your Disaster Response Coordinator). 

4. Provide appropriate assistance to the Disaster Response Coordinator in establishing the Church’s Disaster Response work center.  This may require that a room or an office, telephones and other office equipment be reassigned to the Response Center function when the plan is implemented.

 

Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

1. Implement the Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan.

2. Provide whatever staff assistance is available to the Disaster Response Coordinator in setting up the Disaster Response work center. 

3. See that your families and those of the staff take whatever actions are appropriate to prepare for the event.

 

Stage 3: Emergency Response – Immediately After Disaster Strikes

1. Assess damage to your household and check the status of your family.  If you are a victim, do not rely solely on your own judgment, listen to others.  If you cannot perform your duties, notify your office, the District Superintendant and get help.

2. If away from the church, let the office know where you are and have them notify the Disaster Response Coordinator.

3. Ensure that the District and Conference are notified of the event and its impact; let them know the disaster plan has been implemented.

 

Stage 4: Relief

1. As soon as possible make a site visit to of both campuses to survey the extent of damage to the facilities and confer with Disaster Response Coordinator and the staff regarding needs. 

2. If it becomes clear that you may be overwhelmed by duties of family, church and community as relief and recovery takes place, look among the ranks of the retired pastors for assistance. If a suitable person isn’t available or appropriate, notify the District Superintendant and request assistance.

3. See that whoever on the staff carries the disaster response liaison portfolio is relieved of as many other routine duties as possible for as long as is appropriate.

4. Provide additional temporary support staff as needed (volunteers).

5. Request emergency funding from the conference if on-hand resources are perceived to be insufficient to meet immediate needs for relief.  As soon as possible, make a financial appeal to the congregation and consider requesting the bishop make a conference-wide financial appeal.  If you wait, donors will assume that the church is not suffering financially and will donate to other disaster agencies who will be asking for their money.

Remember that the church office cannot act as if it were “business as usual” if the disaster is large or catastrophic.  A whole new way of doing business will be required.

Stage 5: Long Term Recovery  

1. Have all involved leaders meet periodically for reports and evaluations.

2. Have the church office publish timely updates in the recovery phase.

3. Publicly acknowledge workers and work done.

4. Plan for a service of praise and memorial a year from the date of the disaster.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Disaster Response Committee

The Disaster Response Committee provides the framework that enables the Disaster Response ministry to function in an effectively and timely fashion.

This committee is responsible for manning the management positions in the ICS structure that manages the disaster response effort in the Disaster Response Center.   In addition, a small executive group should be formed and empowered to make decisions, especially on release of funds up to a certain level, without having to poll the full Finance committee, Trustees and Church Council.

The team’s purpose is to set policy and monitor progress as it supervises and supports operations and provides oversight so that actions taken during a disaster response abide by the rules and procedures of the church.

 

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes

1. Assist in maintaining the disaster response ministry and disaster response plan.

2. Assist in maintaining the Disaster Response Center (DRC) operations location and the team that staffs it.  The work area should be flexible to adjust to the number of people mobilized for the DRC staff, and have the necessary communications equipment, maps and charts.

3. Assist in building relationships with agencies active in disaster response in the local area: governmental organizations, volunteer organizations active in disasters,  long term recovery organizations, interfaith organizations, etc.

4. Assist in disaster training.  This may include identifying training opportunities, helping to host training sessions, serving as a trainer or following up after training events, etc.

 

 Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

1. Assist in implementation of the Disaster Preparation and Response Plan.

2. Activate the DRC Team and confirm communications capabilities.

3. Assist in setting up and staffing the DRC and, if the disaster is likely to have a severe adverse impact on the location, assist in setting up and staffing an alternative location to work from.

Stage 3: Emergency Response – After Disaster Strikes

1. Assess damage to your household and check the status of your family.  If you are a victim, do not rely solely on your own judgment, listen to others.  If you cannot perform your duties, notify the church office and get help.

2. Assume your role in the DRC.

3. Assist the pastors, staff and church office in meeting their needs

 

Stage 4: Relief

1. Continue to implement the church Disaster Plan.

2. Assess the DRC positions to determine the size of the structure required to continue.  Prepare for expansion and obtaining other persons to assist in the functions needed, or for reducing and merging various functions under a single manager.

3. As the relief phase wanes and recovery is about to start, prepare to phase out the DRC and be replaced by a recovery organization.

 

Stage 5: Long Term Recovery   

1. No long-term recovery actions.

2. Review and critique actions taken during disaster.  Seek improvement.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Disaster Response Coordinator

The Disaster Response Coordinator is:

· The point of contact for coordinating disaster response and disaster-related efforts at our church level.

· An advocate for disaster preparation and response issues.

· The chair of the Disaster Response Committee.

· The Incident Coordinator of the Disaster Response Center.

· Responsible for collaborating with the conference appointed area representative about local recovery actions.

 

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes:

1. Work with church leadership to assist in the development and maintenance of a disaster response ministry and the disaster response plan.

2.   Develop and equip a  Disaster Response Center (DRC) operations location and a team to staff it.  The work area should be flexible to adjust to the number of people mobilized for the DRC staff, and have the necessary communications equipment, maps and charts.

3. Provide the District Disaster Response Coordinator with information on who to contact in the church as disaster response liaison and, if more than one person needs to be informed, the order they should be contacted.

4. Participate in and build relationships with agencies active in disaster response in the local area.  If unable to participate, the Disaster Response Coordinator should select a representative so that the church continues to be recognized as a valuable partner in the disaster response community.

5. Coordinate the possible use of church facilities as a training center, crisis counseling, ministry, temporary shelter, and supply or distribution center during disaster response.

6. Collaborate with the conference UMVIM Director to receive disaster training.  This may include identifying training opportunities, serving as the trainer or designating others active in the disaster response ministry to be a trainer, following up after training events, etc.

Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

1. Implement the Disaster Preparation and Response Plan.

2. Activate the DRC Team and confirm communications capabilities.

3. Set up and secure the DRC and, if the disaster is likely to have a severe adverse impact on the location, identify, set up and staff an alternative location to work from.

4. Check for updates from OES, the media and other sources.

5. Check in with the conference office and  other disaster agencies.

 

Stage 3: Emergency Response – After Disaster Strikes

1. Assess damage to your household and check the status of your family.  If you are a victim, do not rely solely on your own judgment, listen to others.  If you cannot perform your duties, notify the church office and get help.

2. Assume the role of Incident Coordinator for the DRC and manage DRC operations.

3. Assist the pastors, staff and church office in meeting their needs

 

Stage 4: Relief

1. Continue as Incident Coordinator for the DRC and manage DRC operations.

2. Develop a system to rotate team members in and out of their positions so they are not working over 12 hours at a time.  Remember to take care of yourself so that you continue to be able to lead the others.

 

Stage 5: Long Term Recovery 

1. Close out the DRC and transition to long-term recovery operations.

2. Identify people to work in recovery. Appoint a local liaison to the conference Area Representative..

3. Collaborate and cooperate with agencies and organizations involved in long-term recovery to provide assistance and training as appropriate.

4. Function as disaster recovery liaison between the church and the Conference and UMCOR.

Roles and Responsibilities of the DRC Executive Committee

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes

1. In the event of a major disaster involving all the resources of the church, actions will be required to be taken in extremely short time frames.  In the event of having to make emergency financial expenditures, conditions will not allow the normal process of obtaining the Senior Pastors’ approval, the finance committees’ approval, the Board of Trustees’ approval and then presenting it for the approval of the Church Council.  To this end the DRC Executive Committee will be convened.  The DRC Executive Committee will be empowered to make decisions representing the members full committee bodies without having to hold meetings of the full committees.

2. The members who will comprise the Disaster Response Center (DRC) Executive Committee will be selected.  As this committee will not function until called for in a major disaster and people come and go on the supporting committees, it may be appropriate to designate members based on positions rather than naming specific individuals.  Membership should consist of the:

· Senior Pastor or designated representative.

· Chair of the Church Council or designated representative.

· Chair of the Board of Trustees or designated representative.

· Chair of the Finance Committee or designated representative.

· The Disaster Response Coordinator or designated representative.

3.   Financial expenditure decisions will normally be limited to funds within the various groups which have been pre-designated for use during or in support of disasters, and to funds coming to the church in support of the disaster, for example: congregational donations, funding from the California-Nevada Conference or UMCOR grants. 

Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

No action is required at this point, other than individual protective actions to survive the disaster.

Stage 3: Emergency Response – After Disaster Strikes

Prepare to convene at the call of the senior pastor or the Disaster Incident Coordinator (Disaster Response Coordinator).

Stage 4: Relief

Respond and take actions as required.

Stage 5: Long-Term Recovery 

The DRC Executive Committee will be disbanded as the disaster enters the long-term recovery phase.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Trustees

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes

1. Authorize the Chair of the Trustees to take actions in the name of the board as a member of the DRC Executive Committee and appoint a member to sit on the Disaster Response Committee.

2. Together with the business manager and senior pastor, review insurance coverage annually.

3. Make an annual inventory of church property and contents and provide a safe repository of valuable records. 

4. Have copies of the church’s blueprints stored safely and accessible.

5. Maintain copies of Certificates of Liability Insurance from all “outside” agencies using the facilities.  Ensure the church is named as an “additional insured” on their insurance policies.

6. In concert with the Disaster Response Coordinator, develop an action plan for establishing a Disaster Response Center under varying levels of disaster, including a secondary location if the primary location is rendered uninhabitable.

7. Act as custodians for Disaster Ministry funds which are held in the trustee’s account.

8. Act to ensure the safety of the physical facilities on both campuses:

· Inspect both campuses for hazards and mitigate any obvious problems.  Fasten shelving, bookcases and other items so they won’t fall in an earthquake, move heavy items from top to lower shelves and secure items that might topple.

· Check cabinet doors to ensure secure closure.

· Insure all chemical and flammable materials are properly stored.

· Clearly mark gas and water shut-off valves with instructions for shut off. (Turn off utilities only if there is a leak or if you suspect damage to the lines)

· Ensure working status of fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

· Ensure proper location and stocking of all first aid kits.

· Take photographs documenting the interior and exterior of your facility to help later in recovering costs due to facility damage or equipment loss.

· Post facility evacuation diagrams (with exit and assembly information).

Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

No action is required at this point, other than individual protective actions to survive the disaster.

Stage 3: Emergency Response – After Disaster Strikes

1. Have pre-designated members of the board respond to each campus to inspect the physical facilities for damage, reporting their results to the Disaster Incident Commander, or in his absence the senior pastor.

2. The Chairperson must prepare to convene as a member of the DRC Executive Committee at the call of the senior pastor or the Disaster Incident Coordinator (Disaster Response Coordinator).

3. Assist as appropriate to maximize the usefulness of the physical facilities in whatever ways the church may be used.

4. Contact the insurance company (Berger & Jones: 800-852-4375, or 925-277-9090) to initiate any insurance claim.

 

Stage 4: Relief

1. Ensure the continuation or quick resumption of worship services.

2. Assist in resumption of the other activities of the church

 

Stage 5: Long Term Recovery

Routine functioning of the Board of Trustees resumes.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Finance Committee

Stage 1: Planning and Preparation – Before Disaster Strikes

1. Authorize the Chair of the Finance Committee to take actions in the name of the committee as a member of the DRC Executive Committee and appoint a member to sit on the Disaster Response Committee.

2. Ensure safe storage and back-up of all vital financial records.

Stage 2: Warning – Disaster is Imminent

No action is required at this point, other than individual protective actions to survive the disaster.

Stage 3: Emergency Response – After Disaster Strikes

The Chairperson must prepare to convene as a member of the DRC Executive Committee at the call of the senior pastor or the Disaster Incident Coordinator (Disaster Response Coordinator).

Stage 4: Relief

Assist the trustees in resumption of the normal functions of the church.

Stage 5: Long Term Recovery

Routine functioning resumes.