I am writing this message on the Monday following Sunday, September 22nd when we as a church community gathered together following worship for a delicious meal prepared for us as by congregation members. Following the meal we moved into the sanctuary where our Safety Preparedness Plan developed by our Trustees was communicated in detail to our congregation. The plan was well accepted and a number of good suggestions were made by those in attendance to enhance the effectiveness of being prepared for a wide variety of different emergency situations that could happen within or around our church.
We dealt with how we could respond to medical emergencies using our new larger First-aid Kit and our AED. We looked at how we can safely respond when weather threatens our gatherings. We have always been prepared for the possibility of a fire in our church and have added additional fire extinguishers for safety. Edie Bogart modeled very dramatically for us how to properly use our fire extingishers. The acronym PASS is a good reminder that we when possible we can use our fire extinguishers to fight a fire. P is for Pull the pin. A is for AIM the chemical hose at the fire base. The first S is for SQUEEZE the handle and the second S is to SWEEP the chemical hose of the fire extinguisher back and forth at the base of the fire not at the top of the flames. We also reviewed our evacuation plan should a fire start in any part of our facilities. We discussed the possibilities of incidents happening outside the church on our property and on 56th Avenue. We looked at what we would do if we lost electricity and the emergency lighting that is available to us so that we might safely move in or exit the building. It was noted that an assembly area for all after exiting the building would be the far portion of the parking lot to the south. We request that all remain there until all can be accounted for. In the last part of our plan we looked at how we could keep our members or anyone using our facilities safer if disruptive individuals or violent intruders would come onto our property or enter our church with the intent to do harm.
In all cases of emergencies we must be ready to contact 911 with either our church phone or a cell phone. An important part of contacting emergency services is being able to tell them that we are at Claybanks United Methodist Church at 9197 56th Ave in Oceana County. After giving our location we are to give the reason for our call and answer any questions asked of us as best we are able.
An important part of any emergency is to remain as calm as possible and continue to be in prayer. When we as a church community are willing to change and adopt to who we are in response to the world around us we are doing what John Wesley the founder of Methodism has commanded of us: do good, do no harm and stay in love with God. Our Safety Preparedness Plan show we care about God’s People.