Meeting set for faith-based responders to disasters


Emergency management officials in Fayette County have worked for years with area churches in preparing for and responding to a variety of disaster scenarios. Those efforts will take on a new look on Feb. 16 when the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency and Ga. Public Health District 4 will host an extensive faith-based disaster conference at Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church south of Fayetteville.

The Fayette County Faith-based Disaster Network conference will feature a variety of topics that will include disaster counseling on the scene, national incident management, personal protection while volunteering on the scene, preparing for an active shooter at your church, vehicle displays, at-home preparedness and a faith-based tornado table top exercise.

“History has shown us repeatedly that the faith-based community is a vital part of the short-term and long-term recovery process after a disaster,” said Fayette County Director of Public Safety Allen McCullough. “This conference is an excellent opportunity for those in our community who would like to become a part of that process to educate themselves on preparedness and how they can help their community during disaster situations.”

McCullough said a phenomenal network of community participants already exists in Fayette County. Those include areas such as churches, physicians, pharmacists, dialysis centers and the state Dept. of Family and Children’s Services.

But the Feb. 16 conference is a way of organizing the faith-based community to further enhance its overall response to natural or manmade disasters that could strike Fayette County.

McCullough said the primary purpose for the conference is to provide a coordinated response to a disaster. Another goal, he added, is to have local participation continue and to have annual conferences.

The exciting part of putting the conference together, he said, is that Fayette County has a wealth of talent that has been utilized in previous emergency scenarios, emergency management officials said, adding that those efforts can be enhanced and enlarged by the training that will occur at the conference.

And the conference is not only intended for churches with large congregations. The idea is that churches of any size are encouraged to attend the conference, McCullough said.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security Director Charlie English.

Organizers said space is limited to 120 participants so it is important to register as soon as possible. Please direct all conference-related questions to Capt. Pete Nelms at 770-305-5172. All attendees must register by email at

The conference is free of charge and lunch will be provided. Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church is located at 1183 Ga. Highway 92 South.