Disaster Planning e-Book Preview: New Resource Available Soon
Disaster preparation can feel overwhelming. There are so many possible natural disasters and other things that could go wrong.
How do you make a plan that encompasses all of the possibilities and keeps both your property and your church members secure? United Methodist Insurance’s new disaster preparedness e-book, which will be released in April 2018, can help you navigate through planning.
Included in the e-book will be a comprehensive guide to natural disasters, extreme weather, and emergency preparedness. There will be sections that address ways to get ready for a disaster, what to put in your emergency kit, and safety skills that people should know. Practical tips on how to offer support, reporting claims, and how to get your technology ready will also be included. And, we will be looking at common scenarios – such as tornadoes, fires, power outages, hurricanes, and more – that will help you get a handle on what to expect in your region and how you should prepare.
Below you will find excerpts from two of our chapters, “Emergency Alerts” and “Tips for Reporting Claims,” to give you an idea of what to expect from the Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather e-book.
Emergency Alerts: Wireless Emergency Alerts
You may have already received Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) on your phone without realizing what they were. These alerts look like text messages, but they sound different than your usual messages. They vibrate twice and use a particular startling tone to let you know that you have received an emergency alert.
The three categories that a WEA falls under are “imminent threat” Amber alerts, and “presidential.” They can be sent by a variety of government agencies and individuals, including the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Weather Service. These messages will instruct you as to what action you should take.
Sometimes in an emergency, wireless networks can be overwhelmed by traffic, which interrupts service. Even if you are unable to make or receive calls or texts to or from contacts because of network congestion, you will still be able to receive WEAs.
Not all devices are capable of receiving WEAs. To make sure that yours can, contact your service provider.
Tips for Reporting Claims: Before a Disaster
Read your insurance policy and understand what is covered and what is not. Know what your deductible is, and how your policy works. If you have questions, check in with your insurance company and ask. To help you understand your insurance policy, United Methodist Insurance has made the Safety and Insurance Handbook for Churches available.
If your property is located in a flood zone, consider getting a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). More information about NFIP can be found here.
Put your policy in a safe place. That might be a water- and fire-proof safe or a safety deposit box off of the property. You should also consider storing electronic copies of important documents, such as your insurance policy, on external hard drives or in the cloud. Some people even recommend putting your policy in your emergency kit; that way, it will be close at hand when you need it.
Make an inventory of important items. In the age of smartphones, taking inventory can be relatively simple. Just make a video recording of all of the rooms in your facilities. Keeping a record of what you have will make it much easier for your claim to be settled after the fact.
It is our hope that you will use the Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather e-book as a guide in your own disaster planning. You will be able to access the complimentary e-book by downloading it from our website, as you can the Safety and Insurance Handbook for Churches.