LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Ward Emergency Preparedness Plan

Posted by Elise on November 16, 2009

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I was given a 16 page emergency response plan to work from.  It stated that our first obligation was to family and then to friends and neighbors.   After that, we were to assist ward and stake members.  It suggested we have a plan in place before an emergency actually occurred.  The following was the chain of command for the first hours after a disaster.  Within 24 hours a follow up would be done by home and visiting teachers.  They would give a more detailed report to the bishop and stake president.  The emergency director was to be the presiding priesthood authority and the following was the chain of command.  The first available priesthood leader in the chain would be in charge in the event of a real emergency.

Stake Level

  1. Stake President
  2. First Counselor
  3. Second Counselor
  4. High Council in order of seniority

Ward Level

  1. Bishop
  2. First Counselor
  3. Second Counselor
  4. High Priest Group Leader
  5. Elders Quorum President
  6. Executive Secretary

Zone Level

  1. Zone Leader
  2. Assistant Zone Leader
  3. Zone Member

District Level

  1. District Leader
  2. Assistant District Leader
  3. District Member

Family Level

  1. Head of Household
  2. Family Member

There was a counselor assigned to assist in this effort on both the stake and ward level.  Both were very involved and supportive.  I set up the districts with the worst case scenario in mind.  I had an actual emergency in mind as I made assignment.  I had taken the CERT training.  I am also involved with our city’s volunteer emergency ham radio communication group, and was aware of how events might play out during a real emergency.  I also considered the various incidents (earthquake, wild fire, chemical spill on our local freeway, flash floods, etc.) that might affect us and what form of transportation might or might not be available.  After considering all these factors, I formed the districts and zones area and made the assignments.  In-actives, the elderly, those household with serious illness or special needs, and family with only one parent were major consideration in district assignments.  Often this made the assignments more difficult than ordinary. Most of the district leaders were cooperative.  A few complained and some just didn’t make the contacts.

District leaders were given from Tuesday until Saturday at 10 a.m. to make the contacts and report to their zone leaders.  A complicated member/property status report was required to be filled.  I made a less detailed form that could be filled out quicker.  If no one was home at the time of the visit, the district leader left a card with information on the drill that just took place, and how to get a hold of them in case of a real emergency.  Their report to the zone leader was to state how many homes were contacted and what particulars needed to be addressed.  Sometimes the stake would plant fictitious situations to see if the information was relayed quickly and accurately.  I would not know what the situations were, or what families were picked.

After a drill or two I realized that I needed to have sharp and reliable zone leaders, as well as dependable district leaders.  It took a few drills, but then I had the best group of zone leaders anyone could have.  I am so grateful for the good job they did.  If a zone leader could not participate at the last minute, I would temporary assign it to another zone leader, or take the report myself.  These assignments stayed in place until the next drill in six months.

The zone leader called in the reports to the ward counselor.  The ward counselor would call the stake counselor who would give the report to the stake president.

When ham radio operators became part of the loop, there would be one operator assigned to each building in the stake.  Each ward would get their report to the operator, and the operator would radio the stats to the stake center.

During some of the drills we collected family profile information, or statistics on whether or not the members had 72 hour evacuation kits, emergency water supplies, food storage, generators, swimming pools, chain saws, etc.

Much work and attention to detail took place before the assignments were made and the drill implemented.  This gives you an overview of how we conducted our ward emergency drills.

I am interested in knowing how other wards and stakes conducted their drills.  Please share your experiences.  I would like to hear from everyone – from the drill organizer to the member that was visited.  It would be appreciated.

79 Responses to “Ward Emergency Preparedness Plan”

  1. Gist said

    Thought you might like to see my blog that has a TON of stuff for self reliance and emergency preparedness. I also have ward and stake plans if interested.

    Good luck


    • Preparedness said

      I am interested in the drill samples you have. Please send them to me. I’ve found two on the internet that I may post along with what you send me.

      Visited your website. You are really into preparedness. I hope to learn more and share what I learn.

      • Gist said

        Thank you for your patience. Here they are, one for stake and one for the ward leaders. They are designed for wards that are close in proximity, but alot of it is universal so pick and choose. Thanks for asking, if you have any suggestions please share.



    • They are too long to post. If anyone is interested, I will E-mail them.

    • Trevor said

      My wife and I were called to be the ward’s emergency preparedness specialists after a snow storm knocked out for a week to most of our ward. There wasn’t a plan already in place. Now I am faced with a writing one. The Stake has one, but a cursory glance at it and I see holes (communications) in it. Could I get a copy of yours emailed to me, please?

      crockett underscore t at msn dot com

  2. brent said

    Hi- I am interested in the ward plan you have put together. Would it be possible for you to email me a copy as I would like to review it for possible additons to our ward plan.


  3. Rick Christiansen said

    Hi, I was wondering if you could please send me a copy of your ward emergency response plan. thank you so much for this site and info.

  4. George grim said

    Are you still in the business of emailing your ward prep. plan. If so, I sure would like one, and many thanks.


    ps: Keep up the good work!

  5. RBD098 said

    Would you please send me a copy of your ward emergency response plan. Many thanks for sharing this information.

  6. Lisa Belnap said

    I am interested in the emergency plans you have put together. I would be happy to share what we learn from all your efforts. Thanks for sharing your work.

  7. mila said

    hi there i would love to have a copy of your emergency plan drill.. would love to implement here in nz =)

    Many thanks for your great effort and examples..

    keep up the wonderful work


  8. Curtis Vila said

    I love to have a copy of your emergency plans both on stake and ward level. We have 4 church units in close proximity and 2 units about 25 miles far from the stake centre. 🙂 RMI MH

    Great lifesaver blogsite!

    • I will send both plans to you tomorrow. If you use them, please let me know how it works out.
      Thank you for visiting and I am happy to know that the site has been of help.

  9. Jeremy said

    I was just made Elders Quorum President and have been given the task of preparing our wards plan. I would love to see what you have done to see if I can implement any part of it. Thanks!!

    • I am away from home visiting my daughter. I will be at home on Sunday and will forward what I have to you. I hope it is helpful. Please let me know if you applied any of it and how it worked out. Thank you for stopping by.

  10. Erica said

    I would love a copy of your Ward/Stake Emergency plans. I’ve just been called as the Ward Emergency Preparedness Specialist, but have no clue where to start. Apparently my Ward does not have an existing plan so I’m starting from scratch. Thank you for making this So much easier for me! 🙂

  11. jim nelson said

    i am just called to help with emergency prep here please email me a copy of your plan for ward preperation thanks jim

  12. Steve said

    Hi, I am also a new ward emergency specialist. I’v been asked to put together a ward plan. I would love to see what others have done. Anyone out there willing to send me a copy my email is

  13. Christina McClure said

    I would like to see how to make a ward/stake plan.Or some examples of them. THank you!

    • They are on their way. Please, please let me know what you think and how you used them.

    • Steve Hepworth said

      I’m guessing you’re not in Utah? I say that because it sounds like your ward and stake boundaries are quite large. We are fortunate to have ward boundaries that only span about 8 or 10 blocks in size.

      We have block captains and assistant block captains with one as head block captain. Each ward has a communication specialist who preferably is a ham radio licensee and of course an emergency specialist. Each block captain and assistant has a two-way radio. Stake has emergency specialist and communications specialist.

      We also surveyed every household as to who lived there, pets, special needs, skills (first aid, CERT, etc), equipment owned and willing to share.

      As far as a plan, it should compliment the stake plan which should compliment the city plan which should compliment the county plan.

      Hope this helps.

  14. Steph said

    I found this page at the most perfect time! My husband and I are the EPS for our ward and we just learned that because the other units in our stake have recently lost their EPS or have yet to call one the Stakes entire emergency preparedness plan will be based on what my husband and I come up with. As you can imagine that incited just a little bit of panic.
    I love what I have read so far and I would dearly love to see what your plan is. Hopefully we can adapt it to our wide spread ward/stake.
    Thank you so very much!

  15. R Matt Goodson said

    Elise, looks like you are being kept busy with this. You are doing a great service. My wife and I are our ward’s EPS. We are in the process of writing our ward EP plan. Could you be so kind as to send us a copy of both your Stake and ward plans to review. We will be happy to share any comments we may have on if and how we use them. Our stake will also be writing a plan based on the collective ward plans. Thank you so much.

  16. Jennifer Lund said

    Hi, I was just called to be my wards Preparedness Specialist and I’m not sure where to start! I found this post and thought I’d see if you would still be able to email me a copy of the ward and stake emergency plans? Thank you!

    • We are just finishing up our ward’s plan. Which basically will be our stake’s plan. Once we present it to our ward council in a couple of weeks I am free to share it with anyone who would like it.


      • Thank your for sharing. I look forward to seeing it.

        • Here is the ward plan that we came up with. A few things that will help to explain it.

          When my husband and I were called we were approached by one of the high councilman who is the stake emergency preparedness specialist (EPS). We were given two tasks. 1- Come up with a plan for the ward. Possibly something that could work with the other two wards in town and 2- Insulate the bishop. When a catastrophic event happens everyone calls the bishop. The stake president wanted us to make it possible to free the bishop from all of those phone calls and allow him to take command of the situation.

          Our stake EPS’ are both very involved with their county EMS’s (Emergency Management Services). One
          of them was the bishop when the tornado destroyed most of Parkersburg, Iowa. That event is what much of this plan is based on.

          We worked with our high councilman, a member who is part of county EMS, and a bishopric member from one of the other wards. We wanted a plan that met all of the Church’s requirements yet at the same time was flexible enough that it could be used for small to large events. Also we wanted it simple enough that whoever was the presiding priesthood leader could pick it up and execute the plan with no prior experience.

          The Stake EPS wanted it as to the point as possible because 1- if it’s too long no one is going to read it. 2- No one wants to carry a book around with them. (this comes because he received a plan from a ward in California that was upwards of 200 pages.

          We the ward EPS’ basically serve as a preparedness wikipedia for our ward. If it comes to the point where the bishop needs to know how to sterilize water that’s what we are for.

          The appendix information is exported directly from the church’s MLS system so that was nice not to have to dig up the information and insert it manually.

          As we discussed in ward council, even though the plan doesn’t describe it, it relies heavily on home teaching. If a home teacher doesn’t check on his families now, he certainly isn’t going to do it in the middle of a disaster.

          If you have any questions please let me know. Thank you for your help. The documents you sent me previously were a great help in constructing our ward plan.


          • Thank you so much for the information. You have been the only person to respond with a follow up and I do appreciate it.

            I am excited about reading it. Will let you know if I have any questions.

          • Jennifer Lund said

            Stephonie I would love to see a copy of the plan you came up with. I’m in the process of starting/updating one for my ward and trying to figure out how to put it all together. Any ideas are a huge help! Can you email me a copy?


    • It’s on its way, Jennifer.

  17. Tara L said

    I have been called as the EPS for my ward. I am in the industry and in law enforcement but I would love to see the format and areas that each of you have written about. We are in a ward in the North East Corridor and have been getting hammered the last two years. Would very much appreciate any guidance and templates available. Thank you.

  18. said


    I would love to see your plan. Can you email it to me? Esrichie @ yahoo .com

    Thank you!

  19. Ted said

    I woudl love a copy of your plan please.

  20. Rhonda Dooley said

    Would you email me a copy of your plans?

  21. Emily said

    Could you please send me a copy too? Thank you so much!

  22. Jennifer said

    I would very much like a copy too! Thank You!

  23. Susan said

    Could you send me a copy as well?

  24. Michael said

    Hello, could you send me a copy of the plan?

  25. Blaine said

    Hi there all the way from New Zealand. I have been tasked by my stake President to put in place a Stake and Ward Emergency plan and happened to come across your blog. I Could you please send me your Ward and. Stake plans. I would really appreciate it. Many thanks and Merry Christmas.

  26. Robert Vine said

    I would like a copy of your (apparently very popular) Ward emergency plan.

  27. Debi said

    I would love a copy of your Ward and Stake plans, as well as the disaster drills. I am the EPS in our Ward and believe it or not I volunteered for the job. I am very passionate about preparedness and since we don’t have a Stake plan, I am thinking it would be wonderful to not have to re-invent the wheel–just tweak it to suit our needs.

  28. Robert said

    Is this still available?

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