2023 Hurricane Season Begins
TXCDR (June 6, 2023) - On June 1, 2023, many of our email inboxes were inundated with emails announcing the start of the 2023 Hurricane Season. For us on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, June and July tropical storms occur but our biggest concerns are August and September storms. Statistically we won’t hit the mid-point of the season until September 12th!
What Worries Us?
It has been 40 years since the last hurricane aimed directly at Houston (Alicia, August 1983). It has been 15 years since the last hurricane evacuation order (Ike, September 2008) and six years since our last major flooding event (Harvey, 2017). What worries us? Complacency.
Are you prepared? Do you have a hurricane go kit? Are you in an evacuation zone? Do you know what the evacuation routes are? Is your congregation prepared to respond?
Will there be another disaster? Yes. The question is Will we be ready?
A Near Average Season?
Forecasters are predicting a near average season which means we have a 1 in 3 chance of seeing a named storm and a 1 in 5 or 6 chance of seeing a hurricane this year. We stress planning because where we live can say with certainty that there will be another storm. With the same certainty we can tell you that if we wait for the National Weather Service to tell us there is a storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico it will be too late to do all the preparation we need to do.
Personal and Family Preparedness
There are many lists that you can share with your congregation to help them prepare. Here are three of our favorites:
- American Red Cross’ What You Need in a Survival Kit?
- American Red Cross’ Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
- Ready Harris’ Emergency Essentials Kit
- SBP’s Stay Ahead of the Storm
Choose one of these and make it readily available to your congregation and encourage them to prepare for the storm.
Preparing Your House of Worship
This next step doesn’t have to be hard. This week, while the skies are blue, create a checklist for your
congregation’s staff. Ask yourself these questions and include the answers in your plans:
YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP (CAMPUS)
- How must we prepare our campus for a tropical storm or hurricane?
- What loose objects must be secured before they become flying missiles in hurricane strength wind?
- Where are the supplies to make emergency repairs to your campus? Who knows where they are?
- In an emergency, who knows where to turn off the power and the gas?
- Do you have insurance information stored in a safe place?
- Are computer systems backed up offsite?
- Are valuable papers stored away from windows where they could be damaged or lost?
- What are your plans for staffing before, during, and after the storm?
- How will you make the decision to let staff go home and to bring staff back that keep them safe?
- Do any of your staff live in an evacuation zone?
- Where will your staff be staying during the storm?
- Do you have their current contact information (hard copy)?
- How will they check in after the storm?
- We recommend that you respond in three tiers: 1- leaders, first responders, and the most vulnerable, “congregation,” and community.
- Do you have the mobile phone numbers$ and addresses(hard copy) of all?
SHARING GOD’S LOVE WITH OTHERS
- Have you appointed a DRC to lead your recovery efforts?
- Have you trained response team leaders to lead muck-gut-and-and-tarp teams?
- Have you explored other areas in which your church can serve?
- Have you signed up for Crisis Cleanup?
- Can you serve as a shelter?
TXCDR has resources to help you in every aspect of your congregation’s disaster plans.
Many are available at TXCDR.org/Training. Contact us for help with preparing your
Congregation’s Hurricane Preparedness plan.