3 FEMA resources for hurricane season and securing places of worship | The Best Samaritan with Jamie Aten and Kent Annan

Marcus T. Coleman Jr. is director of the DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships. He previously spoke with Kent and Jamie about how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partners with the church to help people before, during and after disasters.

From hurricanes to wildfires and threats of attacks in public spaces, I recognize the important role the church plays in bringing hope and healing to disaster survivors. Below are three tools to complement the wonderful resources of Wheaton College’s Institute for Humanitarian Disasters to help you and your church continue to do good before disaster strikes.

The FEMA app is your personalized disaster resource, so you and your congregation will feel empowered and ready to handle whatever disaster life throws at you. The FEMA mobile app was recently updated – in English and Spanish – to give users more customization options and help them deal with disasters. This is the largest mobile app update in the past 10 years and demonstrates FEMA’s ongoing commitment to meeting people where they are by providing them with the resources they need to friendly way. The new app will allow users to customize what they see in the app so they receive the information most relevant to their user preferences and location.

Download the FEMA app.

You can download the FEMA app from Google Play and the Apple App Store. You can also download the app via text messaging. On an Android device, text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA); On an Apple device, text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA).

Download a hurricane preparedness toolkit.

FEMA’s Hurricane Season Preparedness Digital Toolkit (Hurricane Season Preparedness Digital Toolkit | Ready.gov) is a resource with ready-to-use publications, graphics, and video links on social media that promotes vital information on how your followers and community members can prepare for and survive a hurricane. Your Digital Engagement Ministry Can Find All The Social Media Readiness Toolkits | Ready.gov useful to use year round.

Take advantage of resources for places of worship.

Our 5 Ways to Improve the Safety and Security of Your Place of Worship or Community Spaces provides practical recommendations, resources, and connections to support your efforts to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people to worship, fellowship and serve.

As your church uses and implements these tools, know that you have a team ready and willing to support you on your journey to prepare your family, your congregation, and your community. This includes your state, local, tribal, or territorial emergency management agency and first aid entities (local law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical services), the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships and its partners including the Salvation Army, SEND Relief, Feed the Children and other members of national voluntary organizations active in disasters.

For more information on how to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, Ready.gov offers online information for individuals, people with disabilities, families, children, pets, and businesses.

Marcus T. Coleman Jr. is director of the DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships.