Disaster Plan


2019 ARTICLE – http://www.anglicandioceseja.org/?p=16914

2016 ARTICLE – http://www.anglicandioceseja.org/?p=5851


The purpose of having a Diocesan Disaster Plan is to protect human life, to safeguard property and to reduce the negative effects of disasters, natural or otherwise, on Diocesan properties.

This document is designed and produced to cover: multiple occupancy entities – in particular, Churches and rectories – in general.

It is designed to guide staff and residents on Diocesan properties in their activities prior to and following a disaster and focuses on the special requirements of specific properties. General plans and procedures should be followed based on the advice given by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).  The Board acknowledges their advice and comments in respect of this document.

Rectors, property managers and Boards of Management should, with the assistance of such a document, address the matter of multiple occupancy homes, churches and church halls, schools, rectories, etc.


  1. (Diocesan) Board of Mission and Ministry.
  2. Other persons with responsibility for implementation of such a Disaster Plan MUST BE NAMED.

Communication/marketing of the Plan 
This must be shared at institutional level and must be a continual process.

Revision and updating of the Plan
This should be done in May and November of each year and is the responsibility of the Director of Mission and Ministry. The Plan is subject to revision as necessary.

Distribution of plan
The Plan is to be distributed to Bishops, Rural Deans, the Diocesan Secretary, Archdeacons, Clergy, Chairpersons and Supervisors of Residences.  It recommended that each Rector/Priest-in-charge shares the Plan with their Wardens given their responsibility for church property.

It is important for each group to study its situation, think through a possible sequence of events and make the necessary plans. The purpose of this document is to reduce the element of surprise in the event of a disaster. It should assist in thinking through the following issues:

  • guide for self management/survival for three days post-event,
  • ensure speedy return to normalcy,
  • manage post traumatic stress,
  • manage competition from personal interests/issues,
  • operate in spite of potential loss of communication and utilities,
  • lack of assistance outside of immediate situation,
  • determine temporary/alternative accommodation.


Record Keeping

A list and the number of persons in any residence must be maintained and constantly updated. For each resident it should include family/contact details.

For each (senior citizen) resident it should include: level of mobility, sense of smell/hearing and visual challenges. For all persons, attention should be given to critical medication and possible requirements for its refrigeration.

These records should be maintained by the Manager/Supervisor of the (multiple occupancy) residence and a copy stored offsite (Director of Mission and Ministry, Church House).

Diocesan Homes

The Supervisor for each Diocesan Home should also maintain a list with names of administrative teams, names and contact information for (two) Board members as well as contact information pertaining to Mrs. Carmen Bromley, Director of Mission and Ministry, Church House.

Residences for the elderly

Bishop Gibson Home for the aged – 15 Hollywood Road, Kingston 6, St. Andrew
Farquharson House – Caledonia Avenue, Cross Roads, St. Andrew
Deaconess House – Caledonia Avenue, St. Andrew (temporarily closed for repair and refurbishing)
Amy Mushette Home – Duncan’s, Trelawny

Children’s Homes

St. Monica’s Home (Co-ed) – Chapelton, Clarendon
Wortley Home – 193 Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew
Clifton Boy’s Home – Darliston, Westmoreland

Other residential entities

Hillcrest Diocesan Retreat Centre – Brown’s Town, St. Ann
Nuttall Memorial Hospital – Caledonia Avenue, St. Andrew
St. Peter’s Court – Tom Redcam Avenue, St. Andrew


Church House – 2 Caledonia Avenue, Cross Roads, Kingston
Bishops’ residences  
Bishops’ offices – Montego Bay, Mandeville, Kingston


Hurricane, wind, floods, landslides (least threat)
Civil disturbance
The unexpected ….

Each agency should examine its situation, identify unique circumstances and the response necessary.


A hurricane is a tropical cyclone associated with heavy rain, high winds and flooding. The hurricane season occurs from June to November. Three types of bulletins are issued.

Hurricane alert – at 72 hours. Ensure that all measures for general precautions have been followed.
Hurricane watch – at 36 hours. Prepare to implement the specific requirements at each property.
Hurricane warning – at 24 hours. There should be no further preparations necessary in non-residential buildings as staff should be able to leave for their homes in reasonable time.

Specific preparations – All properties

Church properties

  • An inventory of items at all properties is a Diocesan requirement and is the responsibility of the Church and specifically the Rector’s/Peoples’ Wardens. This must be regularly updated with a copy stored offsite.
  • Stained glass windows of churches should be photographed to enable accuracy in repair/reproduction. These photographs should be carefully stored for speedy retrieval.

Diocesan Homes

  • At the commencement of each hurricane season, inform families/those responsible for residents in homes about the steps to be taken.
  • The Director/BMM will check the homes at the start of the season to ensure that precautionary measures are in place and will be followed.
  • Establish a safety drill at each home with a view to implementing quick response especially from the staff. Develop ‘call out’ procedures and establish safe assembly points.
  • Identify [by name] a Safety Warden/Coordinator for each home. This person should have and be familiar with this Plan.
  • In the event of the passage of a hurricane those residents who can return home should be so encouraged. Where no families are available, arrangements must be made for appropriate staffing assignments and the comfort and safety of residents during the event.

General preparations and precautions

  • Read, listen to and follow the general advance guidelines recommended by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
  • Listen to and act on the advice of ODPEM and the National Meteorological Office as given just prior to the event.
  • Trim overhanging trees at the beginning of the hurricane season.
  • Clear drains and roof gutters at the beginning of each month – May through November and each week in September.
  • Purchase (in advance) and store garbage bags/plastic sheeting/tarpaulins for protective covering of equipment – photocopiers, computers, etc.
  • Appoint persons responsible for each location and inform them about their duties and responsibilities which include reporting immediately following the first site visit after the event. Diocesan Homes report to the Board of Mission and Ministry, Churches report to the Regional Bishop through Rural Deans.
  • Identify (in advance) a clean-up team for Property/Church environs and give instructions for clean-up operations.
  • Be prepared to manage on individual resources for three days (post event) without assistance. (Responsibility  –  Persons in charge at all properties)
  • Be prepared to manage without the use of electricity for an extended period. Store flashlights, batteries, etc. Exercise extreme caution in the use of candles and open flames. (Responsibility  –  Persons in charge at all properties).
  • Be prepared to provide counseling and to have open discussion with persons who may respond negatively to the disaster. [Responsibility varies with each institution]
  • Ensure sufficient containers to store water for at least seven days or seven gallons per person. Note that water for both drinking and personal hygiene should be stored at all times. (Responsibility – Persons in charge at all properties)
  • Ensure adequate security arrangements and, where necessary, liaise with security firms accordingly.
  • Each property should be equipped with a First Aid kit on a permanent basis. Items should be listed, checked monthly and re-stocked as necessary.



Turn off main power switch one hour before strike. [This will very likely be done island wide by the utility company] Persons in charge must acquaint themselves with the location of the main switch.


Remove computers (CPU’s+keyboards+monitors) to a safe location away from windows or ceiling areas which are likely to leak. Store on shelf area or off the floor.
Cover with plastic – garbage bags, sheet plastic, etc.
Remove plugs from wall sockets.


Ensure medical prescriptions are filled in advance with supplies to last until normalcy is restored. Pay special attention to those medications which require refrigeration to be effective.

Specific properties

Residential homes (Multiple occupancy)

  • Stock masking tape, garbage bags, newspaper, etc.
  • Store water.
  • Clear drains.
  • Turn off gas supply
  • Ensure food/medical/emergency supplies in advance.
  • Put up shutters/secure barricades to windows and doors, tape glass as necessary.
  • Send home those with families who can provide protection for them during the event.
  • Ensure that, during the event, residents are in the safest location in the residence, that is, e.g., away from windows, etc.
  • Identify a named person to check on the residence following the passage of the storm.
  • Manage the security of grill gates and the number and location of keys/spare keys. Offsite key storage with a reliable neighbor should be considered for residential homes.
  • Special attention should be given beforehand to identifying persons with disabilities – in particular, the elderly, children and persons who are physically challenged or who may be hearing or sight impaired.
  • Establish beforehand and maintain current lists of persons/residents and a method of accounting for each person (This should be undertaken by the person in charge of the property and Chairpersons should ensure that this procedure is in place)

Church building  [Person(s) responsible – Rector/Administrative Officer/Vergers/Wardens]

  • Clear drains and roof gutters
  • Install shutters, if available, over stained glass windows
  • Ensure planned shut down of power switches
  • Stow/protect clerical robes
  • Lock away all Eucharistic vessels, cross, bells, etc.
  • Cover organ and ensure safety of musical scores
  • Remove/protect/store altar linen
  • Remove and store carpets, altar kneelers, etc.
  • Protect or remove and store microphones and speakers
  • Cover sanctuary chairs


  • Remove duty book from Vestry, wrap with plastic and place in vault/safe storage

Church Office/Vestry

  • Stow computers away from windows
  • Wrap vital records (documentation without which the Church cannot function) in plastic and place in a vault/safe storage.
  • *Vital records – Columbarium records/baptismal records/cemetery data base/membership lists and cards/diskettes/application tapes, payroll records, legal information, titles, etc.
  • Apply masking tape to filing cabinet drawers.
  • Ensure that valuable items are raised off the floor.
  • Store water
  • Kitchen – unplug equipment, clear refrigerator, clear counters
  • Office – cover desks, cover/unplug equipment, store visitation case

Caretaker’s cottage (Residential)

  • Implement normal procedures for a residence
  • Store water

Church Hall

  • Check/trim overhanging trees
  • Clear drains

Rectory  (Residential)

  • Ensure normal procedures for a residence.
  • Check overhanging trees
  • Ensure security of building
  • Stow equipment
  • Store water


Immediate response to a disaster reduces the effects of severe loss.


  • Assess safety and security of staff/residents.
  • Inspect all properties at the earliest/safest possible time and provide reports to designated persons. Assess the damage situation – e.g. structural damage, flooding, effect on documentation, potential safety issues or hazards, etc.
  • Identify remedial measures – temporary or urgent repairs, distribution of supplies, clean-up operations.
  • Eliminate hazards – broken glass/nails in loose rafters or boards, etc. In the case of loose electrical wires, personal contact should be avoided and the utility company should be summoned as a matter of urgency.
  • Initiate and organize recovery plans.
  • Check priority areas – Site specific to be identified
  • Implement clearance of yards/gardens and disposal of debris.
  • Clean up procedures:
    • open buildings to allow natural drying of carpets, etc.
    • mop/push water
    • discard wet newspapers
    • Check for damaged records, files, information material, etc. and initiate restoration procedures for irreplaceable items. These should not be discarded and professional advice should be sought urgently on repair/restoration [Church Archivist].
    • Remove barricades/tape, etc.
  • Items for clean up – bleach, mops, rakes, shovels, water pushers, garbage bags, newspapers.
  • Arrange for drying of carpets, if necessary, without the aid of electricity.
  • Be prepared to deal with post event trauma/depression in the case of older persons and young people.
  • Keep records if possible – make notes, take photographs. These actions are useful for insurance purposes and for future mitigation activity at specific locations.
  • List/itemize damage to property and submit to the Diocesan Secretary at Church House as a matter of urgency.
Other events requiring emergency response
  • There is no warning. Persons should seek immediate protection under a desk, table or within a framed doorway.
  • Establish beforehand a designated meeting place some distance from the building.
  • If outside a building stay away from overhead wires or structures which appear to have unstable building material.
  • Check staff/residents lists

In the event of a fire – whatever the size, wherever the location – evacuation procedures must be implemented immediately. Fire extinguishers are located ………………    Staff/residents should familiarize themselves with the details of use prior to the need for use.

  • Implement regular fire drills
  • Utilize fire extinguishers and train staff in their use.
  • Establish beforehand a designated meeting place some distance from the building
  • Once a fire has been detected summon the Fire Brigade
  • Leave the building and take up position at the meeting place.
  • Check staff/resident lists (Responsibility of persons in charge)
  • Assist physically challenged persons
  • Ensure management of keys for quick exit and establish beforehand escape routes and assistance for the physically challenged.
Civil disturbance

Maintain communication with staff/Church office/Chairperson(s), etc.
Follow media bulletins.



NAME                                                 ADDRESS                               TEL. #’S

Property Directory
Rural Dean
Chair, Board of Management
Board member
Board member

Given the fact that following a disaster it may be impossible to make telephone contact, please note the following:
Contact must be made using cellular phones. The designated times for contact (following a hurricane) may be set for 8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. [each for 5 minutes] as it would be unwise to maintain continual service/contact given the difficulty in recharging the phones. Initial contact should be made following the onslaught of a storm. Changes in contact times may be made at the discretion of/or between the Rector/Curate/Wardens, etc.


These can include, but are not limited to:

Rolls of plastic
Paper towels
Plastic garbage bags
Masking tape
Flashlight + batteries

Hammer and nails
Battery powered radios + spare batteries
Lamps + candles + matches


First aid
Prescription items
Cotton wool
Band aid
Rubbing alcohol
Smelling salts

Sub-Committee of the Board of Mission and Ministry, November 2007
Rt. Rev. Harold Daniel, Mrs. Carmen Bromley, Mrs. Elsie Aarons, 
Rev. June 2008

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