EMERGENCY RESPONSE PREPAREDNESS MEASURES IN LARGE WORSHIP CENTRES WITHIN THE PORT HARCOURT METROPOLIS
All organizations, including churches, are subjected to some level of risk. Being prepared in an emergency can reduce a loss and make the difference between life and death. The study assessed the emergency response preparedness measures among large worship centers within the Port Harcourt metropolis. A cross‑sectional research design was employed, while questionnaires and descriptive statistics were adopted for information gathering and data analysis, respectively. The result revealed that measures such as exit route maps displayed throughout the building (60.8%), training of church worker(s) on emergency response (55.5%), First Aid/ Nursing station (87.7%), the existence of emergency response team (62.7%), and worship center been easily accessible to emergency vehicles e.g. ambulance and fire trucks (67.7%) are available towards emergency events in the church environment. However, a written emergency plan (60.2%), fire alarm and Smoke/Heat detector installed (50.5%), emergency lighting installed and operative (58.5%), and wet floor signs (75.0%) are not available. The outcome indicated that churches could manage emergency events within their system, but this might not be the same in the case of large-scale events such as act of terrorism and the collapse of buildings. Therefore, churches need to transition from care-based management to mitigation-based management as a means to be proactive toward disaster management.
Keywords: Church, Disaster Management, Emergency Response, Faith-Based Organizations, Preparedness.