calendar January 22, 2016 in Congregations, Disaster Response

Winter Storm Preparations for Churches

With a winter storm set to deliver significant snow, sleet and ice to our region again, we urge you to be prepared for the possibilities of heavy snowfall, limited travel and potential power outages. Congregations can play an important role by checking on vulnerable people in the community and opening as a “comfort station” to provide warmth and power to people affected by power outages. Read on for some steps congregations can take to  help their members and communities during and after the storm.

 

Heavenly Father, we lift before you people in the path of this winter storm, especially those who are vulnerable to the cold, snow and ice; those who must work for others safety during the storm; those who may face loss of power and heat; those experiencing homelessness who live on the streets. Bring comfort to all experiencing this storm. Give us strength to reach out as your hands to serve those around us affected by the weather. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

With this storm set to deliver significant snow, sleet and ice to our region again, we urge you to be prepared for the possibilities of heavy snowfall, limited travel and potential power outages. After the damage from last week’s storm, some areas may be vulnerable to additional storm impacts.

Congregations can play a role in helping communities cope by providing locations for warming stations or shelters if needed, and by checking on neighbors and elderly/vulnerable members.

Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA advises that congregational leaders should reach out to their municipality in advance of the storm if they can offer space to shelter or feed people, so they can be included in emergency preparations. (It can be difficult to make contacts once the storm is underway)

Food pantries often have low supplies during and immediately after a storm, so if you can deliver food before or immediately after the storm it will be appreciated.

Please report your congregation’s involvement in this unfolding event by sending email to sepanews@sepa.org (we will relay to LDR).

Watch for updates on the Lutheran Congregational Services Facebook page at http://bit.ly/LCSFB14

Please follow common sense procedures preparing for the storm:

  • Stay off the roads during severe weather conditions.
  • Have adequate supplies of food, water and medications (for at least 72 hours) on hand.
  • Have flashlights and batteries or candles for emergency lighting and a battery operated radio.
  • Have a full tank of gas in your car.
  • Charge cell phones in advance of the storm, and have a charge cable to charge phones in your car during an extended outage.
  • If you have heat, offer your home as a place to stay for family and friends who don’t.
  • Report any power outages, downed trees or other damage to your municipality and utility company; do not assume others will report it.
  • Wear layered clothing and use blankets or sleep bags to stay warm; and
  • Avoid using generators, outdoor heating or cooking equipment, such as a grill, camp stove, or gasoline propane heater indoors.

Check your county or municipal websites today for information on notification systems that may exist in your county or town and visit Ready.gov for more information on staying safe!

Photo: Bob Fisher

 

originally published: Feb. 2014

updated: January 22, 2016