A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
West, Texas – Explosion: Requested Response Protocols
The West, Texas disaster is among many in the news this week. The UMC church in West, Texas has been directly affected by the fertilizer plant explosion, and surrounding churches are opening their doors to serve in cooperation with emergency management. See the press release and the Central Texas Conference web site.
The Central Texas Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Laraine Waughtal, has been actively responding since the outset, and she has requested our assistance in reminding everyone of the following:
- Phone calls to the Conference office and to the local churches in the affected area with offers of help and expressions of concern can overwhelm critical communications. Please refer callers to the Conference web site for information about disaster response, or to the UMCOR Call Center 1-800-554-8583.
- Please do not deploy Early Response Teams, Care Teams, or other volunteers to the disaster affected Conference unless invited by Conference personnel.
- Redirect volunteer energies into building kits (especially clean up kits and health kits), fundraising, and local training and readiness activities. For example, churches can develop or revise disaster readiness and response plans, or host a Connecting Neighbors program for the local church, district or conference.
- Churches should have current rosters and be prepared to share their roster with emergency management in an event wherein people are unaccounted for.
- Churches should have a mechanism for accounting for church members and affiliates following a disaster.
Press Release Central Texas Conference web site
Larraine will keep us posted primarily via the conference web site. In the meantime, she has expressed appreciation for your prayers, and she is comforted knowing that many of you understand the demands of these early days and will help manage the expectations of the volunteers and others seeking to help and express care.
As I draft this, many other Conferences are preparing for or responding to recent flooding, tornadoes, and human-caused disasters. It is good to know the United Methodist Church is present and prepared to offer hope and healing.
Thank you, and keep in touch.
Catherine G. Earl, MSW
Disaster Response US, Latin America, Caribbean
United Methodist Committee on Relief
100 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 315
Washington DC 20002
Office: (202) 548-4002
Mobile: (202) 680-8824