Housing Disaster Victims

A church’s greatest opportunity to serve its community may come in the aftermath of a natural disaster when the church steps forward to provide food, shelter, and spiritual comfort. Although relief efforts may fit your ministry’s biblical mission, church leaders should evaluate several factors to help protect the church and the people they intend to help. Consider the following:

  • Determine your facility’s capacity limit, as determined by fire codes and local ordinances.
  • Limit the areas of your facility to which disaster victims will have access. Consider designating an outdoor smoking area.
  • Enlist members of your congregation to minister to your guests and monitor your building on a 24/7 basis.
  • Record the names of everyone you house. Ask guests for contact information, as well as the names of relatives to reach in an emergency.
  • Establish procedures for addressing and reporting unlawful activi­ties.
  • Determine how you will handle weapons and valu­ables that disaster victims bring to your shelter. You can place weapons and valuables in a safe or tightly secured room, but also weigh the risks inherent to storing such items.
  • Secure and/or monitor entrances at all times. Make sure that interior doors are in good repair and are unlocked in areas where disaster victims have access.
  • Determine how you will provide basic living necessities like food, showers, blankets, and personal hygiene products.
  • Establish a plan for dealing with higher volumes of trash, as well as more frequent maintenance and janitorial needs.
  • Encourage parents to be responsible for the safety of their children.
  • Prepare areas for children by installing safety devices on electrical outlets and providing safe, age-appropriate toys.
  • Ensure that volunteers are trained to identify potential sex offenders and victims of abuse. Contact local law enforcement immediately if you learn that a registered sex offender is housed in your facility or if an allegation of abuse arises.
  • Allow only screened individuals from your ministry to oversee activities involving children. This is especially important in settings where children are separated from their parents.

Your ministry should build a response plan before an impending disaster. Doing so will help your church provide a safe and secure shelter for disaster victims and at the same time, protect your church and those who worship with you.

January 12, 2021
Potential Vulnerabilities in School's Safety Plan
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On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
January 5, 2021
Church Safety Trends for 2021
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Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
November 23, 2020
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season
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Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
October 28, 2020
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy
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Tags: coverage, protect, liability, damages, youth
October 27, 2020
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On October 10, 2020, in Denver, Colorado, a 30-year-old private security guard who was hired to protect a Denver news crew while covering protests was involved in a deadly shooting that claimed the life of a 49-year-old man. 

October 1, 2020
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Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.

August 27, 2020
Emergency Dispatch: Cameron Peak
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Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
August 20, 2020
Colorado Wildfires: Prepare Your Ministry Now
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Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
April 13, 2020
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams
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Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry. Learn how to keep your ministry safe from scams. 

Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
March 30, 2020
CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now
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March 6, 2020
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention
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January 29, 2020
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics
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The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.

October 28, 2019
Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?
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Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.

Tags: missions, insurance
September 1, 2019
IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance
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Tags: ACA, IRS
August 15, 2019
Record Breaking Hailstorm Hits Colorado
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On Tuesday, August 15, 2019, a record-breaking hailstorm struck multiple areas throughout the state of Colorado.

Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
July 3, 2019
Celebrate Safely This Independence Day
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July 4th is synonymous with food, fun, and fireworks. If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety, so that everyone can have fun.

Tags: liability, damages, firework safety
June 28, 2019
Insurance is one of those things we forget about until we need it
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Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
June 24, 2019
June 23-29 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week
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Summertime across the country means barbecues, carnivals, sporting events, boating, hitting the beach and many other recreational activities. In short, summertime means a lot more people are spending time in the great outdoors. But summer is also the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena--lightning.

Tags: damages, protect, hail, weather emergency
May 8, 2019
Protect Your People & Property During Hailstorms
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According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hail causes about $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year. Prepare your ministry and people for hail this season.

Tags: damages, protect, hail, weather emergency
April 30, 2019
Measles Cases Reach Record-Breaking Numbers
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Tags: liability, protect, health safety, risk management, measles