ARDF Training: The Three Phases of Disaster Response



How do Anglicans respond to hurricanes, floods, fires, and other disasters?


Today some 25 Anglicans representing 10 parishes across 4 states, gathered here for a Disaster Preparedness Training. Hosted by the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF), the event sought both to train participants in disaster response, and also to foster relationships for future coordinated efforts. Led by Tommy Lamb, the Director of the Disaster Response Network, the event also featured presentations by Susan & Skeeter Bell, of Trinity Lafayette in Louisiana, and Stephen Haynesworth, of St. John Parish Church in South Carolina.

In this article we share one key idea from the training: The Three Phases of Disaster Response.

The Three Phases of Disaster Response

Every disaster is unique, but most have three distinct phases of response.

1) First Responders (Week 1)

The first week after a disaster is all about survival. Political leaders often make a disaster declaration, law enforcement and the national guard are deployed, and major organizations such as the Red Cross move in. During this phase, the most important task for the church is to look after its own people and its facility, and to communicate with others to identify emerging needs.

2) Emergency Relief (Week 1 to Week 10)

This is where the church steps in to serve the broader community. Each congregation determines how it can serve, whether by collecting supplies, distributing supplies, cooking food, helping with clean-up, or meeting other needs. Two important points to remember. First, no congregation can do everything; each congregation needs to identify its capacity and focus on serving well in that space. Second, the needs on the ground are constantly changing, so the congregation must remain in regular communication, and be flexible to adapt to emerging needs.

3) Long-term Recovery (Week 10 to Week 100)

Disaster response does not end when the cameras and the big organizations leave. There is long-term work to rebuild, to bring encouragement, and to provide spiritual care.  In this phase, the church is one of the few remaining institutions giving help. Here the relationships that were formed in the first two phases deepen, often turning into lifelong friendships and yielding remarkable fruit for the gospel. Thus the work of disaster response not only serves the world with the hands of Christ, but also invites the needy world into his loving embrace.

Published on

December 1, 2022


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