After a hectic month, I wanted to write about my new church calling/civil assignment as an Emergency Response Coordinator here in Farmington. I was caught like a deer in headlights when I was asked to serve in this calling. No, really. It’s not that I haven’t felt like I could help with emergency preparedness in my ward, but helping a ward and my neighborhood in this manner is like asking me to manage a small community.
I love my neighborhood and the people who live here, but I also know the types of disasters that could happen here. So, I hope I can do this assignment as effectively as I should.
I thought I’d share some advice to anyone else who received a similar calling whether it be an Emergency Response Coordinator, a Food Storage Specialist, or an Emergency Preparedness Specialist.
- Remember who called you. Though the assignment was extended through a member of the bishopric, it is a calling from the Lord and He wants you to help his children now. He can inspire you to fulfill your assignment. So, get on your knees many times, and ask Him how you can help your ward.
- Remember what gifts you have. No one will do this assignment exactly the same way. Everyone has strengths that can help them with this calling. And yours, or mine, may be what is needed at this time in your community. When I first got this calling all I could focus on were my inadequacies. Yes, me. Don’t do that. We each have strengths and gifts, so now is the time to use them.
- Get debriefed from the last person who had this calling. What has been done? What still needs to be done? What materials do they have? But remember, change is good. You may be inspired to do things differently from the last person. Ask your bishop what his vision is for the ward. Find out what the vision of the stake is as well. I am between the bishop and the city and my focus is emergency communications. But I will also be helping with emergency preparations.
- Do your homework. There isn’t an official “handbook” for this calling, and that makes it hard because we want to know the 10 Commandments of this calling. Thankfully I was given a guidebook from my stake emergency leaders, so I have some direction. And they are constantly sending emails my way. We are moving in a big direction. If you don’t have stake guidance, counsel with your bishop.
- Check the Church resources. There is a lot of “stuff” out there on the internet, so go to the lds.org website first for some emergency preparedness information. Create a favorite bookmark on your Google Chrome bar. I like the Emergency Preparedness and Response page, and the Food Storage page. There are other websites like the ones I listed below, but you can get overwhelmed looking at what others have done. So, work with what you have locally first, and then build on it. Remember: you are not building the ark for everyone in your ward. It is not your calling to buy 50 gallon water barrels for everyone. You are sharing a few blueprints and teaching them how to fish.
- Identify likely disasters in your area. Every city is different. Some people never think about what could happen close to them. I wrote down some things that could happen in our neck of the woods so I could understand what to prepare for. Disasters such as Earthquakes, Severe Wind Storms, Prolonged Power Outage, Floods, ICE/Snow Storm, Fires, Heat Waves, Hazardous Material Spill. We don’t have hurricanes or tsunamis here.
- Ask for others to help you. You don’t have to be-it-all or do-it-all. I function best when I can delegate or share the blessings. If you need an assistant, don’t be afraid to ask the bishop for one. In addition to my calling, my stake asked the bishop to call a Ward Emergency Communications Coordinator and an Emergency Resource Coordinator. I am blessed. But, I also asked for an Emergency Preparedness Specialist to help teach a monthly preparedness classes.
- Remember the organization of the LDS Church. Things are done with wisdom and order. I love that! No need to fear. We can get the job done and be there where we are needed. Examples from the past teach us this. All will be well.
Ward and Stake websites I like:
Gig Harbor Stake Emergency Preparedness
Highland 19 Ward Emergency & Preparedness
Orange County Emergency Response
Gilbert Higley Stake Arizona