Hurricanes. Flooding. Active aggressors. God watches over us, but disaster happens, and we need to be prepared and ready to help those around us. Here’s the latest on United Methodists helping in times of disaster, and what to do when disaster strikes.
UMC Helping in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico
United Methodists’ recovery efforts are ongoing in two Texas conferences (Texas Conference and Rio Texas Conference), Florida and Puerto Rico. It will take an estimated 10 to 12 years until recovery is finished, and many volunteers are needed in all four conferences.
Volunteers need to register online before they go help, and registration can be found on each conference’s website. Anyone wanting to volunteer should consider UMVIM Volunteer Team Leadership training and ERT (Emergency or Early Response Training). Both are free and offer trainers in Iowa to come and lead the training. Contact Pastor Catie Newman* to schedule a training session.
In helping with recovery efforts, the shower trailer is on loan to one of the permanent volunteer housing sites in Texas, and will be for the next year or so. Before Texas, the trailer was in Louisiana then Oklahoma, and will not be at the Annual Conference this year. This is just one of the recovery efforts used to help those in need.
Prepare for Severe Weather and Natural Disasters
Be prepared for severe weather this spring with some helpful tips from UMC’s disaster response team. The first tip is to talk with your family, neighbors, co-workers, Church Administration Board and others about upcoming weather and how to react. It’s important to make a plan for different situations, and have a disaster kit ready with food, water, a Bible, a flashlight, blankets and anything else necessary to survive.
Along with preparing a plan and kit, it’s useful to have relevant training. This includes CPR training, basic first aid and how to use a fire extinguisher, for example. It’s also important to know the difference between a weather advisory, watch and warning, and to listen and act during those times.
In addition to basic preparation, you should also consider your pets and important documents. Make sure to plan for your pet’s special needs and comforts. Also prepare by scanning in important documents such as a driver’s license or birth certificate to put in a safety deposit box or send to a family member.
Active Aggressor Training
Every church is different, but what’s most important is to have a plan. When there’s an active aggressor, remember the acronym ALICE – alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. There’s more helpful resources found online at iaumc.org.
Along with those resources, every Iowa Police Department and Iowa Sherriff Department has personnel trained to come to your facility to walk through, discuss and identify safety needs. They will also come to your group and lead “Active Shooter Training” for your specific location at no cost.
Fill the Truck - flyer
The IAUMC is supporting the Midwest Missions Distribution Center at the Iowa Annual Conference this year with help from attendees. Midwest Missions needs kits and items of all types, but they especially need receiving blankets, gowns (0-6 months) and cloth diapers. They also need clean-up, health, layette, sewing and school kits, and will refurbish donated sewing machines and bikes to share.
Bring gifts and kits to the truck during the Annual Conference located in the parking lot at Vet’s Auditorium. Keep in mind that all items in the kits must be new, donators should not add extra items to the kits and checks written out for financial gifts can be payable to “MMDC.”
The Midwest Mission is a cooperating depot with UMCOR Relief, and they partner by reaching out in times of crisis and support many outreach programs. Those who wish to help can donate complete kits, financial gifts and items to put in kits. For more information, contact MMDC at midwestmissionsdc.org
For more information about disaster response and preparation or “fill the truck,” contact Pastor Catie Newman, IAUMC Disaster and Response Coordinator, at (712) 899-4067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.