Gov. Jay Nixon will visit Eastern Jackson County next week as part of the drive to enlist faith-based organizations to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Gov. Jay Nixon will visit Eastern Jackson County next week as part of the drive to enlist faith-based organizations to prepare for emergencies and disasters.


Organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and Convoy of Hope will be on hand at the half-day event, a workshop of the state’s Faith-Based Organization Initiative shelter program.


Gov. Nixon will be the keynote speaker. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at Crown Pointe Church, 5950 N.E. Lakewood Way. (That’s in Lee’s Summit, just south of Independence; Little Blue Parkway turns into Lakewood Way at U.S. 40.)


“It’s a major event,” said Jackson County Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security Director Mike Curry. Nixon named Curry co-chair of the shelter program three years ago, and Curry has been around the state making presentations.


The idea is to get churches to train many of their members and be ready for large-scale disasters such as tornadoes, chemical spills and even taking evacuees from a hurricane or earthquake. Those churches would be able to help meet the needs of their own members as well as those of the larger community. Crown Pointe was among the first to sign up.


Topics to be covered include organizing volunteers, preparing a religious facility for use as a shelter, managing mass donations, long-term recovery and responding to the emotional and spiritual challenges that disasters pose.


Curry also is looking for volunteers, who emergency managers rely on to fill many key roles. For example, the Independence Events Center is set up for use in emergencies. In a drill last year, volunteers screened people coming to town from a major earthquake in the central U.S., assessing their needs directing them to shelters and services.