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Risk Alert: Lending A Hand In Hard Times

Risk Alert: Lending a hand in hard times

If your organization is considering acting as an emergency shelter and providing for the community at large after a severe weather disaster, make sure you have what people will need.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your facility have adequate:
    • Sleeping areas?
    • Bathrooms for men and women?
    • Shower areas for men and women?
    • Changing stations for those with young children?
  • Who will be responsible for housekeeping?
  • How will you respond to a medical emergency?
  • Is there sufficient security and protection for the people you will be housing?

Be prepared to supply needs

An emergency could require those using your shelter to stay for a few hours, days or even weeks. To be prepared for any duration, your organization should create an emergency supply kit for your shelter, including the following:

  • A roster of names, addresses and telephone numbers of everyone using the facility.
  • Dust masks.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Water: at least three days’ worth for sanitation and drinking (one gallon of water for every person each day). If you live in a warmer climate, you will need more water. Water should be stored in clean plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Regular household bleach (do not use scented, color-safe or cleaner-added bleaches) and medicine dropper for water decontamination.
  • Important documents, such as your insurance policy, in a waterproof container.
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, if necessary.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Cash and coins.
  • A flashlight.
  • Local maps.
  • A mobile phone with text messaging capability.
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • Extra batteries.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • Food: at least a three-day supply of food that requires no refrigeration, no preparation and little to no water. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils. Avoid salty foods, as these may cause increased thirst.
  • Garbage bags, plastic ties, moist towelettes and toilet paper for personal sanitation.

If you reside in a colder-climate region, consider including:

  • Jackets or coats.
  • Long-sleeved shirts.
  • Hats, mittens and scarves.
  • Long pants.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Sleeping bags or warm blankets.

Ensure the usefulness of your disaster supplies kit

Keep your kit well maintained, or its usefulness will quickly diminish. Follow these easy steps in the upkeep of your kit:

  • Store kit in a cool, dry place.
  • Keep foods in tightly closed containers to protect from pests and extend shelf life.
  • Discard any foods in swollen, dented or corroded packaging.
  • Write the date of storage on all materials and change stored food and water supplies every six months.
  • Go over your kit at least once a year and update supplies as the need arises.

To find more information on what your organization can do to prepare for severe weather, check out CM Select’s severe weather protection resource. You can also explore our tailored property and liability plans that protect Nonprofits, Human Services organizations, and Houses of Worship


The information contained in these materials is intended solely to provide general guidance on topics that may be of interest to you. While we have made reasonable efforts to present accurate and reliable information, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions, or for any actions you take or fail to take based on these materials. The information provided may not apply to your particular facts or circumstances; therefore, you should seek professional advice prior to relying on any information that may be found in these materials.