2021 Hurricane Season Reminders

August 16, 2021

(Rev. Chris Ackerman) - To our friends, neighbors, and churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference:

As I’m sure you are aware, tropical storm Fred is headed into the Marianna Panama City District today and he’s bringing with him substantial rain. While Fred is not a particularly strong storm, there is a good chance of flooding and potential damage from wind. Please be sure to check in with your local weather sources frequently to ensure that you have the most available and up-to-date information on the storm. 

Fred is a good reminder that we are getting into the height of hurricane season. We would be remiss if we did not once again share the important steps that you should be taking in advance of any storm as well as the steps you should take after a storm hits. 

These steps should be in place as a part of your Disaster Preparedness Plan that you have for your church. If you do not have a disaster preparedness plan, then please do not hesitate to email me at chris@awfumc.org and I will help you get a disaster plan in place that is specific to your congregation. 

Here are some of the things that we need to be doing now to prepare for any such eventuality:

  1.  Back up your church and home systems (computers, databases, etc.) onto devices that can be taken with you should you need to evacuate, or to a location that will not be affected by the storms.
  2. Protect your electronic devices, sensitive equipment, musical instruments, organs, pianos, etc. Covering them with a tarp or plastic sheeting will protect them from leaks that might occur. Any equipment that can be elevated at least four inches off the floor will help prevent damage if waters do get into the building. Many computer towers sit on the floor under desks….put them up on the desk if you can.
  3. Protect your records and historical documents (technical drawings, pictures, paper files). Placing them in sealable, waterproof plastic bags within a safe or file cabinet would help if you cannot relocate them to a safe place.
  4. Secure your building, bringing inside loose items that could be blown around. This is especially important for church playgrounds.
  5. Verify that there is a contact list for all facility personnel, neighbors, family, etc. Do not rely on cell phones; land lines may be disrupted as well.
  6. Check on your fragile/elderly folks: are they evacuating? Where will they be going? If they are not leaving, who will check on them following the storm?
  7. Be aware of where shelters are in your community.

In the event of a disaster in your area:

1. Make sure you and your family are ok. 
2. Check on your church and congregants and report to your District Superintendent or your District Disaster Recovery Coordinator (DDRC). Click here for updated list

- If the disaster is larger than what you can handle on your own, please reach out to your district for help. 
- If the disaster is larger than your district can handle your DS will reach out to the Conference.

Thank you for taking theses precautionary steps as we prepare together. 

Rev. Chris Ackerman
Alabama-West Florida Disaster Response Coordinator