'Emergency Response Guide' reissued by 'Communications Team' for use by Memphis Conference churches, agencies, ministries

7/17/2017



The Memphis Conference Emergency Response Guide is now available with an August 2017 publication date.
 
This is the same document issued in August 2013, but it has been updated with a new cover and date and is being posted to the Memphis Conference website with password access.
 
Click HERE to access the Memphis Conference Emergency Response Guide. Any leader who has not received username and password should email request to blawson@memphis-umc.org
 
This document is for all pastors, churches, ministries and agencies in the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church. The geographical area of the Memphis Conference includes West Tennessee and Western Kentucky. The Guide may be accessed "as is" or downloaded to store electronically or print to keep in a notebook.
 
The timing of this reissue is to coincide with 2017 church charge conferences that historically begin taking place in late summer and early fall.
 
This document was introduced in 2013 to replace the Memphis Conference Media Crisis Response Plan.  Any copies of the Media Crisis Response Plan (big clock on cover) that are still floating around should be destroyed.
 
The Memphis Conference Emergency Response Guide was approved for use by the Memphis Conference Communications Team and Council on Finance and Administration in 2013.
 
This document addresses more than how to deal with the media when an emergency (natural or human-caused) occurs. It goes deeper by offering guidelines that might prevent emergencies (pain/hurt/suffering/loss) from occurring in the first place and thereby avoid a “media crisis” that might result.
 
The Communications Team of the Memphis Conference originally launched this project. Below are some of the team’s reasons and philosophies behind the document and its contents: 

  • "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark!" An internal and external communications plan during and following an emergency is not an option. No person, company or organization is immune to change, conflict, catastrophe, crisis, conflict or corruption. The importance of being prepared to effectively communicate during an emergency cannot be overstated, especially with the world’s now 24/7 news cycle and the power of social media that allows no time or luxury for affected parties to convene and devise a plan. It was time to update the Memphis Conference communications plan, BUT...
  •  We came to the realization that the Memphis Conference was/is dangerously deficient when it comes to knowing how to respond to an emergency, not just a related media crisis. When such an event occurs, the church's first and foremost responsibility is the protection and welfare of its members, visitors and employees. We decided we needed a document that covered this important piece (how to prevent emergencies and what to do during emergencies), not just what to say or not say to the media. 
  • This Emergency Response Guide is an easy-to-use document for before, during and after a variety of emergency situations. Please take time to review its contents. Some churches/agencies/ministries might already have such plans in place, but we suspect many do not. This Guide may be used as is or adapted or simply consulted. It may be kept in electronic and/or printed form (as many copies as needed) in whatever way works for the church/agency/ministry.
  •  Placement of this Guide with our churches/agencies/ministries enables the Memphis Conference to pass the public perception test should any emergency situation draw unfavorable public/media attention. We can say we provided helpful information for the welfare and safety of our members, visitors and employees. This generates public confidence that we are in control and allows us to rightfully attempt to turn any media story that might reflect poorly on the Memphis Conference and its churches/agencies/ministries. 
  • Like Noah, we do not know when an emergency will occur, but like Noah, we have a plan in the form of this Guide.
~Compiled by Lane Gardner Camp, Director of Communications, Memphis Conference