Local Partnership

Partnership is essential to planning and achieving basic outcomes in disaster response. For the local church, partnership is available on many levels with local and national faith-based and non-governmental organizations, as well as, local and state governments.

Church leaders should consider membership in organizations like Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) and state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) which provide opportunity to engage in the many facets of disaster response.

Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD)
COAD members typically include the local Red Cross, Salvation Army, public health agency, ministerial alliance, elected officials, representatives from local churches, and other service organizations. Local churches that develop relationships with these groups are better positioned to serve and minister to their community when disaster strikes.

Local churches that participate in COAD can also expect a number of benefits during a disaster including:

  • Less disruption to ministry operations;
  • More efficient use of resources;
  • Less duplication of services;
  • Fewer myths about roles in disaster response and recovery;
  • A voice in local disaster recovery planning;
  • Better opportunity to manage expectations placed on church facility and ministries;
  • Greater access to information useful to staff and parishioners when preparing for disaster;
  • Part of a network of organizations and agencies with a wide range of assets and resources which are invaluable before and during disasters.

When local churches choose to participate on the local level in a COAD, the entire community will benefit.

To learn more about starting a COAD in your area, visit the following sites:

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
VOAD differs from COAD in that it serves a larger population and geographic footprint in a state. VOAD membership includes many COAD members. However, some COAD members only participate on the local level when their scope of influence serves a small demographic. Other members, like American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and denominational disaster response ministries, represent a larger territory and population base and need to interact at the state level to be efficient in their response to disasters. Local churches can participate at both levels depending on their scope of influence.

Local church leaders should engage in COAD before expanding to a VOAD. In some instances, there may not be a local COAD developed. Local churches may want to start one in their community.

Other Partnership Opportunities
American Red Cross (ARC)
ARC is a national organization which engages in many humanitarian efforts including disaster preparedness and response. ARC offers valuable training programs for families, churches and businesses, as well as, volunteer opportunities to serve your community. Convoy of Hope USDR has worked cooperatively with ARC in disaster response across the country. To find your local ARC chapter click here.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
CERT programs educate people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their church, neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. This is a great opportunity for church members to learn useful skill sets that benefit their church and community.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
In addition to FEMA, each state, county and many cities have Offices and Agencies of Emergency Management. Their role is to: (1) identify risks, prevent hazards from developing into disasters, and reduce the effects of disasters when they do occur; (2) develop community action plans for when disaster strikes; (3) mobilize the necessary emergency services and first responders in a disaster area; and (4), restore an affected area to its previous state.

Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC)
Following a major disaster, affected communities may establish a LTRC to coordinate and oversee ongoing recovery efforts. Members of these committees are usually representatives of nonprofit organizations and churches. Individual and community needs are assessed and prioritized so recovery can proceed in an orderly manner; and to ensure people do not become lost amid overlapping systems. Click here for more information about long term recovery and LTRC.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization offering many kinds of compassion ministry programs, including disaster relief. Through their disaster relief program, The Salvation Army responds to all kinds of emergencies by providing food, shelter, clothing, and spiritual comfort. Convoy of Hope Disaster Response has an official cooperative agreement with The Salvation Army.

Unique to Your Community
Your community has unique needs, resources and people. Get to know those already serving in disaster preparedness and response. Discover any unmet needs and learn how you can help by finding your niche.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
In addition to HHS, every state, county and many cities have Health Departments responsible for general health, food inspections, vaccines, statistics, and testing. Work with your local health department to prepare for health related crisis. Consider making your church available as a closed or open point of dispensation for vaccines. Learn how you can help.

Weather Spotter
The National Weather Service (NWS) offers a weather spotter training program called SKYWARN. As a weather spotter, you can voluntarily observe and discern pending or active storms and provide valuable information to the NWS to be communicated to the broader community.

Click here for continuity of ministry & operations plan