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Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management to develop faith-based organization partnerships

By Staff | Jan 6, 2017

Faith-based Community Organizations (FBCO) partnerships are extremely important before, during and after disasters. During the 2016 Summer Flooding event in Southern West Virginia, it was the FBCOs that assisted their communities with comfort, care, sheltering, distribution of resources and information to their membership during the disaster, and many of those same FBCO representatives are now serving on Long-Term Recovery Committees that are planning a better tomorrow for their communities and assisting with still-unmet needs.

In West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergency Management provided a training, Mobilizing Faith-Based Community Organizations in Preparedness of Disasters on Nov. 3 in Moorefield. Representatives from Jefferson County attended the training and want to move forward encouraging more involvement with the local FBCOs. JCHSEM has scheduled a meeting with FBCOs on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Jefferson County Maintenance Department Meeting Room at 128 Industrial Blvd., Kearneysville.

Invited to the meeting are faith-based community organization (FBCO) representatives, emergency managers and first responders to strategically mobilize and engage members of FBCOs, including religious charities, nonprofits such as the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, churches (both affiliated and unaffiliated), temples, synagogues, mosques and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) etc., in a reciprocal approach to disaster planning that is integrated into current local emergency management efforts. The organizers hope to emphasize grassroots mobilization and coordination efforts as a means of engaging all faith communities, thereby reaching those marginalized communities most vulnerable to disaster, most frequently excluded from the planning process, and ultimately, most difficult to aid in recovery. The group will introduces vital emergency management concepts to FBCO leaders, and educate emergency management/first responder communities about the critical role FBCOs can play in strengthening preparedness.

Over the next several months, the group will focus on what roles FBCOs are already playing in disasters.

Examples are that the United Methodist Church has UMCOR, the Lutheran Church has the S.T.U.F.F. Program, and one + program, Salvation Army provides mobile and congregate feeding and provides disaster counseling. The Red Cross assists with sheltering, damage assessments and the safe and well program.

These are just a few examples. At the meeting, the group will discuss others. They will also focus on how FBCOs can get information from emergency management that they need during disasters, and opportunities for their congregations and members to prepare their own disaster supply kits and family disaster and communications plans before the next disaster.

JCHSEM has recently developed an updated list of FBCOs and will be sending out an email invitation for the meeting. However, others who are interested are invited to attend!

To register, go to Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/emergencymanagementfaithbasedcommunityorganizationsmeetingtickets


Those who may experience difficulty registering with Eventbrite or whohave questions, please contact Barbara Miller at 304-728-3290 or bmiller@jefferson countywv.org for assistance.