Disaster Preparedness and Response

The mission of the Diocese of Virginia Disaster Preparedness and Response (DOVDPR) ministry team is to support the diocese, its congregations, homes, schools, camps and conference centers, and other institutions in efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any disaster that is a result of nature, industry, technology, or intention.

Right: Members from Pohick, Lorton on a mission trip to Iowa.



Members of the DOVDPR team attend regional and congregational events and meetings to discuss individual, congregational, and regional vulnerability to all hazards; particularly the ones most threatening to their own area in the diocese. DOVDPR helps congregations and other entities develop simple but effective emergency response plans that are regularly tested and updated. Moreover, DOVDPR assists local congregations with establishing and maintaining credentialed relationships with local first responders, including development of local fire department site plans for the church site.


DOVDPR attempts to monitor events and incidents throughout the diocese and contact the appropriate dean and/or affected congregation at the outset of any emergency, but also welcomes contact from affected congregations and regions should news of the event or incident not reach DOVDPR. Upon request/invitation, team members travel to the affected area to assist with the immediate response and serve as liaisons, if appropriate, to Episcopal Relief and Development. DOVDPR has also assisted with the FEMA/SBA recovery process when requested.

Right: Youth from St. James-the-Less, Ashland work on a mission trip in Iowa


Long before incorporation as a formal diocesan ministry team, DOVDPR members have been deeply involved with long-term recovery efforts, most notably in New Orleans, LA, and Ames, IA, and Crisfield, MD. DOVDPR helps congregations assemble teams for mission trips, often facilitating cross- and multi-congregational involvement when a single congregation cannot provide a sufficient number of missioners. In addition, DOVDPR sponsors recovery workshops given by Home Depot for unskilled workers, and provides adult and child sexual misconduct training at all of its Volunteer Days.

Volunteer Days

Twice a year, DOVDPR sponsors Volunteer Days, in which representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development and current disaster areas (e.g., ND, CO, and Hurricane Sandy, which affected MD, NY, and NJ) to present their needs, their volunteer opportunities, and first-hand recovery stories.

Our Partners

On the national level, DOVDPR is proud to partner with Episcopal Relief and Development, FEMA, and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). At the state level, we partner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Virginia VOAD. We encourage local congregations to develop and maintain partnerships with their local volunteer agencies such as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), local VOAD chapters, and local chapters of the American Red Cross.



Youth from St. James-the-Less, Ashland on a mission trip to Iowa.

A member of Pohick, Lorton makes repairs while on a mission trip to Iowa.




  • Check out this Parish Planning Template, which is a useful tool for parishes formulating contingency plans in the event of an emergency.
  • See this Initial Contact List for suggested initial points of contact in Alabama, Colorado, and North Dakota.
  • Use this checklist to help determine the focus of and preparation necessary for a disaster relief mission trip.
  • Ready, launched by FEMA, is a website designed to help the public "Prepare, plan and stay informed" in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Ready to Serve is a volunteer database organized by Episcopal Relief and Development in order to quickly locate ready and willing volunteers in the event of a disaster.

For geographic-specific information, please see the following documents:

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Rev. Pete Gustin or the Rev. Deacon Dan Wilmoth, team co-chairs.