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.

April 13, 2021
Take Time to Review Your Ministry's Child Protection Plan
Take Time to Review Your Ministry's Child Protection Plan

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.

Tags: safety, protect, child protection, youth, child abuse
March 16, 2021
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now

When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.

Tags: weather emergency, lightning, storms, safety, protect
February 25, 2021
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles

Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.

Tags: protect, theft, vehicles
February 15, 2021
Grant Funds Available for Safeguarding Ministries
Grant Funds Available for Safeguarding Ministries

As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
February 5, 2021
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet

As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes jumps. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.

Tags: frozen, building, pipes, prevent damage
January 12, 2021
Potential Vulnerabilities in School's Safety Plan
Are there hidden vulnerabilities in your school's safety plan?

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
Church Safety Trends for 2021

If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
November 23, 2020
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season

Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
October 28, 2020
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy

A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.

Tags: coverage, protect, liability, damages, youth
October 27, 2020
Self-Defense or Second-Degree Murder?
Self-Defense or Second-Degree Murder?

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
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

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
Emergency Dispatch: Cameron Peak

Lessons learned from the front line of a wildland fire.

Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
August 20, 2020
Colorado Wildfires: Prepare Your Ministry Now
Colorado Wildfires: Prepare Your Ministry Now

Four major wildfires are burning across Colorado, fueled by dry vegetation, drought and wind.

Tags: liability, damages, protect, directors and officers, coverage
April 13, 2020
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams

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
UPDATED: CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now

Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23. 

March 6, 2020
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention

As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.

January 29, 2020
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics

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?
Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?

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
IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance

Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.

Tags: ACA, IRS
August 15, 2019
Record Breaking Hailstorm Hits Colorado
Record Breaking Hailstorm Hits Colorado

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