Emergency responders have met with faith based leaders to discuss emergency planning.
Churches are often involved after a crisis, but, in a Santa Barbara forum, key personnel were told ways they can connect to emergency planners, and response teams to help before, during and after a disaster.
One of the speakers from the Office of Homeland Security, David Myers said churches often have the means to deal with many people because of their large halls and parking lots. “All of you have resources to bring to a disaster. All of you want to bring those resources,” he said.
Myers said in many communities across the country he has seen churches and neighbors who rarely work together, unite in a crisis , in some cases, to help more than the government can provide. “I like to say that disasters blow down fences and make great neighbors. I have seen this over and over again,” said Mitchell.
Community Action Commission official Tony Mitchell said the VODA (Voluntary Organizations Active in a Disaster) group has been building up many connections community wide to help in a response.
“Typically you think of churches for emotional and spiritual care and in reality the churches have a variety of capabilities from feeding, sheltering and various other things that are critical in any communities,”said Mitchell.