The district disaster response coordinators, along with AWF Conference leaders, just completed a conference call. Several noteworthy pieces of information were mentioned that might be of interest to you or your local church. Please carefully read this update along with others that will be sent in the coming days.
The State of Alabama VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) held a call at 1:00pm today. Although most in this group are not trained meteorologists and storm forecasters, the consensus is that there will be some sort of landfall in or close to our conference. Significant wind and surf could arrive in our conference by Monday evening. Various groups within the targeted areas, such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross, are in alignment and cooperatively preparing for this storm.
The district disaster response coordinators are assessing several things including places that can potentially house trained volunteers as well as available resources. Inventories of flood/cleaning buckets are also being taken at this time. Should we need more buckets, the North Alabama and Mississippi Conferences of the UMC will share their inventory. If the storm makes landfall in another conference, we will most certainly share our inventory with those who need it. District tool trailers are also being assessed at this time.
Now is the time to evaluate your own facilities if there are areas that tend to flood or leak. We also highly encourage you to reach out to those in your congregation and community who are elderly or have special needs. A brief phone call showing care and concern ahead of time will be most appreciated by them. If you are not familiar with your district disaster coordinator, please click here for the list and note their contact information.
All trained Early Response Teams and Chainsaw Teams should be on standby from this point on until further notice. You will most likely be needed somewhere.
A newly released Red Cross mobile app is available for free. We encourage everyone to download this app if you have a Droid or iPhone. Features include shelter locations and an "I'm safe" capability that informs others you are ok. A handy checklist from the Red Cross on how best to prepare for the storm can be found here.
Also, www.ready.gov is a very helpful Web site and offers tips and help on making plans and informing those in your churches.
Click here to follow conference protocol when reporting damage. It is imperative we all follow the same plan of action.
The Alabama 211 system will be an information hub for those who would like to volunteer and are unaffiliated or untrained.
The Alabama-West Florida Conference will hold another call at noon on Monday. More information will be distributed at that time unless there is a need before then. Conference updates will be sent via e-mail, posted on the AWF Facebook page and also posted to the AWF Conference Web site main page. Thank you for planning ahead. We have learned a great deal in years past and feel as prepared as possible for what could head our way. To those already making a plan and assessing their situation, we thank you. Please continue to pray for minimal damage and for those in the path of the storm.
Alabama-West Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator