APPALACHIA – (May 11, 2022) Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) recently hosted emergency shelter trainings in Rockcastle and Floyd Counties, educating volunteer trainees on the various aspects of effectively and efficiently running an emergency shelter during a natural disaster. Fifty one CAP staff members, volunteers, and members of the community participated in these trainings.
When children, their families, and seniors find themselves struggling to find shelter when a disaster strikes, CAP’s Disaster Relief Program is there to provide shelter to those in need. Trained volunteers assist in this process and are an essential part of CAP’s disaster response
"We serve as the hands and feet of Christ to people in disaster situations when they are not sure what to do,” said Robyn Renner, director of CAP’s Disaster Relief Program. “We let them know we are there with them and they are not alone when bad things may be happening. We let them know there is help on the way." Shelters ensure a safe and warm place to stay and enable participants to make other living arrangements.
CAP has a memorandum of understanding with Rockcastle, Powell, Floyd, and Jackson Counties to activate these types of shelters should the need arise.
"For some people coming into a shelter and not knowing anyone and experiencing what they are facing, it can be scary,” Renner added. “Our job is to make them feel as comfortable as possible and provide what we can to them."
The trainings focused on a myriad of functions associated with emergency shelter management including essential items needed to open a shelter, volunteer roles needed to operate the shelter, and shelter layout.
In addition to the recent training, CAP staff and volunteers participate in local community mock trainings and assessments during the year to continue to develop and improve on the organization’s disaster response. During a training in the fall of 2021 in Rockcastle County, CAP was recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with a high rating for its emergency shelter protocols.
"As the saying goes, it's always good to do the planning during blue skies than during gray skies,” Renner shared. “We want to have all of our plans and practices in place so we can quickly respond after a disaster to help people who are in need."
For more information on CAP’s Disaster Relief Program, please visit www.christianapp.org/disaster-relief.