While we will always continue to hope for clear skies and sunny days, the reality is the geographic region of the Diocese of North Carolina will continue to face severe weather threats. One consolation amongst the worry and preparation is that our communication with you has never been stronger, so none of us has to face the storm alone.
BEFORE THE STORM
As the forecasts clarify what we can expect, so does our conversation with you. When a storm approaches that merits the implementation of an emergency plan, in the days before the storm arrives, the Diocese shares resources and connects with clergy and congregations to support efforts to help churches and communities stay safe. We do this in a number of ways:
- Diocesan communication channels: Our website it the heart of the information we share. In addition to quick links and updates on our homepage, storm-related resources can be found in our preparedness planning section, and a constantly updated, storm-specific page houses all relevant information. We also share updates and resources on our Facebook and Twitter pages and, time permitting, in Please Note, our weekly e-newsletter.
- Emails to clergy and communicators: In addition to the information we share with all, we also communicate with clergy (via our convocation deans) and parish communicators via email to ensure churches are aware of the resources available to them as well as any protocols we may ask them to follow.
- Check-in calls on Zoom: When a storm of significant severity is expected, members of the diocesan response team now offer daily calls via Zoom before, during and after the storm. These optional calls are for clergy and church/preparedness leaders, so they can check in on each other’s statuses, share relevant news and updates, answer questions and exchange ideas or suggestions. When an expected storm merits these calls, information on how to join is included in the correspondence and information shared with clergy.
DURING THE STORM
When the storm is in its active phase, the focus is always on staying safe. Circumstances permitting, any additional information to be shared will be distributed on diocesan communication channels, updates to clergy via the deans and the daily calls.
- Alert Media: One additional channel that comes into play during the storm is Alert Media, an emergency mass communication tool to which we have access through our partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development. It allows us to check in directly with clergy and church leaders via text and email to stay connected and start building a real-time picture of how the diocese is faring. If your clergy or senior wardens did not receive alerts during Hurricane Florence, please contact [email protected] to confirm contact information.
AFTER THE STORM
After the storm passes, the communication continues. Diocesan communication channels are updated as information is received, and the daily calls continue as long as they are helpful. Quick check-ins are sent via Alert Media so even those who may be without power can let us know how they are. As churches start to gather information about the status of their immediate areas, two additional tools come into play:
- Impact Assessment form: A tool developed by Episcopal Relief and Development, the impact assessment form is a (very) short questionnaire sent to clergy (again by email via the deans) asking a few simple questions to help us assess the impact of the storms around the diocese. It takes only minutes to complete, and the information helps build a picture of area damage done so we can respond and help as early and effectively as possible.
- Daily activity form: Similar to the impact assessment form, this tool (also developed by Episcopal Relief and Development) provides churches with a quick and easy way to let us know how recovery is going day-to-day not just with your congregation, but with your surrounding communities.
We can’t prevent the storms from coming, but we can do our best to ensure no one in the Diocese of North Carolina feels alone when they arrive. As churches provide comfort and support to their communities, so do we strive to provide that same comfort and support to our churches.