These resources are available to you as you respond to emergency situations. The following are guidelines for the use of some of those resources.
Following a disaster, the Church has supplies and commodities that can be provided. These supplies can supplement locally available supplies.
Following a disaster, local Church leaders or community organizations may want to use a Church meetinghouse for:
- An emergency shelter
- An information center
- A location for the distribution of supplies
- Other emergency uses
Permission to use a meetinghouse as an emergency shelter is granted by the stake president after consultation with a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. Priesthood leaders should involve the facilities manager when a meetinghouse is used for this purpose.
Leaders should take care to comply with the following guidelines.
- While the use of a meetinghouse as a temporary community shelter may occasionally be needed, a Church building generally should not be the first choice. Other community facilities are better suited to accommodate the lodging of large numbers of people.
- Sometimes wards or stakes are approached by a local organization desiring to enter into a predisaster shelter agreement. Such agreements are not recommended.
- When a meetinghouse is used by a community agency, Word of Wisdom and other Church standards should be observed in the building and on surrounding Church property.
- The chapel and offices are not to be used, except for Church purposes.
- Cooking equipment and heaters that are not part of the meetinghouse furnishings may not be used in the building.
- Pets are not allowed in the building, except for service animals.
- The stake president or bishop should assign a priesthood holder to be present at all times the building is used by another organization.
- The Hold Harmless Agreement should be signed by any organization using the building. If the building will be used by the American Red Cross, please complete the American Red Cross Shelter Agreement form.
- Note that the American Red Cross provides “partner shelter” training, which teaches members in advance how to use Church buildings as functional shelters in the event of a disaster.
Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops (2010), section 5.1.3
Facilities Management Guidelines for Meetinghouses and Other Church Property (United States and Canada), 2.
In some emergencies, it may be better to purchase supplies locally rather than requesting them from Salt Lake City or a distant storehouse. Once an emergency response project is approved, leaders should take the following steps to account for purchases made as part of the Church effort:
- The Area Seventy and Welfare Services will determine the spending limits and items to be purchased by each stake. See MLS Emergency Response Project Instructions to account for these expenditures.
- If the purchase has been prearranged by Church headquarters, please follow the directions given to you by the Church purchasing agent to pick up the items at the prearranged supplier. Be sure to obtain a receipt for the purchase and send it, as instructed, by the purchasing agent.
- If the mission, stake, or ward makes local purchases or incurs expenses, the clerk should code checks to the account labeled “other.” The clerk should retain the receipts for all expenses.
- Within 60 days, the clerk should send a list of all purchases made for the emergency along with copies of all receipts to the Area Welfare Manager.