April 1, 2015
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Introduction to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief Introduction to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is a cooperative, volunteer ministry of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and its affiliated churches.  It is totally dependent upon volunteers who give of their time, energy, talents and finances to assist others in a time of disaster.  The ministry is led by the State Director, an employee of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.  He and one administrative assistant are the only employees working primarily with Disaster Relief.

Within Tennessee, there are over 11,400 trained volunteers from churches and associations who are ready to respond to a disaster of any size any where.  Many of these churches and associations own and operate their own equipment. Beyond Tennessee, our state cooperates with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and 41 other state conventions that have similar ministries.  At the national level, Statements and Memorandums of Understanding are in place with American Red Cross (ARC), The Salvation Army (TSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Angels of Mercy (AOM) and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD).  Because of these agreements, TN Baptist Disaster Relief is normally one of the first to respond with Disaster Relief services during a time of crisis.

Services that can be provided during a disaster response:

Recovery Teams (107 units with equipment)

  • Chainsaw Teams
  • Clean-up Teams
  • Flood Recovery Teams

Mass Feeding

  • 1 state unit capable of preparing up to 50,000 meals per day
  • 2 associational units capable of preparing 10,000 – 20,000 meals per day
  • 2 associational units capable of preparing 5,000 – 10,000 meal per day
  • 5 associational units capable of preparing up to 5,000 meals per day

Childcare Services

  • 1 state unit with equipment to utilize in caring for 80 children at one time

Chaplain Services

  • Unit Chaplains
  • Community Chaplains

Rebuild and Recovery

  • Damage Assessment
  • Rebuild and repair

Water Purification Unit

  • 1 State Unit capable of purifying 8 gallons of water a minute


  • 12 Association / Church Units with a total of 52 shower heads and 7 washers and 8 dryers

Laundry for Victims

  • 6 units with a total of 15 washers and 20 dryers and 4 showers


  • 2 Refrigerated trailer units with 2 road tractors

Communication Services

  • Command and control unit with satellite phone technology
  • Trained ham radio operators with equipment


Volunteer Requirements:

Because of agreements with national agencies and organizations, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has the following requirements for volunteers:

  1. Must be a member of a cooperating Tennessee Southern Baptist Church.
  2. Must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Must have satisfactorily completed the training course, “Introduction to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief”  and specialized training.
  4. Must complete an application and be approved for service.
  5. Must have a servant heart.
  6. Must be ready to show Christ’s love in action
  7. Must be flexible.
  8. Must be trained by TBC-certified instructors.
  9. Must have a background check (more extensive one for Childcare).
  10. Certain responsibilities may require motor vehicle checks and special licensing requirements.  (e.g. driver for any state equipment)

Volunteer Responsibilities: 

  • Responsible for own insurance coverage and medical expenses if injured or ill during activation.
  • Responsible for own transportation to and from activation site.
  • Must be able to follow instructions and guidelines from DR officials during a response.  Failure to do so will result in volunteer being instructed to return home.

Funding for Disaster Relief:

Cooperative Program
Since 1925 the Cooperative Program has been the lifeline of Southern Baptist Mission efforts. Over the years, it has provided equipment, training, and personnel for Disaster Relief.  Currently, the Cooperative Program funds State Director and Administrative Assistant positions for Disaster Relief and provides office and facility support to the ministry.

Designated for Specific Disaster
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is dependent upon churches and individuals who donate during a specific disaster response.  These funds are used, based on approved policy, in providing relief and assistance to the victims of a disaster.

Designated Gifts for General Disaster Relief
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is also dependent upon generous churches and individuals who donate to the General Disaster Relief.  These funds are used to purchase new equipment and to expand the ministry.


History of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief responses:

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief began when Tennessee Baptists responded to an explosion of a train tanker car in Waverly, TN in 1978.  The immediate response was that of financial assistance.  Since then, the ministry has grown and provided assistance in many different forms to over 120 different disaster events. 

The responses have been within Tennessee, throughout the United States, and even around the world.  Some have been small, with only one or two people going to provide leadership.  Others have required literally thousands of volunteers and continued for many years.

The following chart shows each TN Baptist Disaster Relief response since 1978.  The month shows only the initial date of the response.  Most responses extended far beyond the initial response, especially the “Rebuild” responses.


Date Location Event Response
February Henderson, McNairy, Robertson, and Wilson Counties, TN Storm Damage Damage Assessment, Chainsaw, and Feeding Teams
May Stewart County, TN Flooding Flood Recovery, Shower, and Laundry Teams
  Peoria, IL Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
May-June Moore, OK Tornado Skid Steer Teams
June Florrisant, MO Flooding Flood Recovery and Chainsaw Teams
July Colorado Springs, CO Fires Ashout, Heavy Equipment, and Chainsaw Teams
August Waynesville, MO Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
September-October Boulder, CO Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
  Greenley, CO Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
October Longmont, CO Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
March Multiple counties in Tennessee Tornadoes Chainsaw, Chaplains, Mass Feeding, Shower/Laundry Teams
July North Carolina and Virginia Storm Damage Driver Teams
  Cumberland and Sevier Counties Storm Damage Chainsaw Teams and Chaplains
August Washington County, TN Flooding Mass Feeding, Shower, Laundry, Damage Assessment, and Flood Recovery Teams
October Plaquemine Parish, LA Flooding  Casket Retrieval
October-December Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York Hurricane Sandy Mass Feeding, Shower, Laundry, Damage Assessment, Site Security, Chainsaw, and Flood Recovery Teams
April-May 19 counties in Tennessee Storm Damage Chainsaw, Mass Feeding, Chaplains, Shower/Laundry Teams
June Missouri Tornadoes Chaplains
  Massachusetts Flooding Flood Recovery
August -September Maryland Hurricane Irene Chainsaw Teams, Chaplains
March-June Haiti Earthquake Warehouse Management
March Haiti Earthquake Buckets of Hope
April-May Rhode Island Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
April-June Decatur, Henderson, Hickman, and McNairy, TN Tornadoes Chainsaw Teams
May 44 counties in Tennessee Flooding Flood Recovery, Chaplains, Laundry, Mass Feeding, and Shower Teams
  Gibson County, TN Straight-Line Winds Chainsaw Teams
June American Samoa Tsunami Rebuild Teams
October-November Straight-Line Winds Fires Fire Recovery Teams
January-February Missouri and Kentucky Ice Storms Mass Feeding / Chain Saw / Shower / Laundry / Chaplaincy
May Illinois and Missouri Tornadoes Chainsaw Teams
  West Virginia Flooding Mass Feeding Teams
August Kentucky Flooding Flood Recovery Teams
October Georgia Flooding Laundry Teams
February Hickman, Macon, Madison, Shelby, Sumner Counties, TN Tornado Damage Chain Saw / Mass Feeding
June-July Iowa and Wisconsin Midwest Storm Damage Mass Feeding / Shower / Flood Recovery / Chaplaincy
September TN ARC Shelters, Louisiana Hurricane Gustav Mass Feeding / Chain Saw / Shower / Laundry / Chaplaincy
September-October Texas Hurricane Ike Mass Feeding/Chain Saw/Flood Recovery/Shower/Laundry/ Chaplaincy
January-February Missouri and Oklahoma Ice Storms Chain Saw
April-May New Hampshire and Maine
Flooding Flood Recovery / Feeding
July Coffeyville, KS Flooding Laundry & Flood Recovery
August-September Minnesota Flooding Flood Recovery
September Ohio Flooding Flood Recovery
December-January '08 Oklahoma Ice Storm Damage Chain Saw
April Gibson County, TN Tornadoes Chain Saw / Shower / Mass Feeding
  Dyer County, TN Tornadoes Chain Saw / Shower
  Sumner County, TN Tornadoes Chain Saw / Mass Feeding
May Massachusetts Floods Mudout
May-June Massachusetts Floods Flood Recovery
July St. Louis, MO Storm Damage Mass Feeding
  Granite City, IL Storm Damage Chain Saw
  Swansea, IL Storm Damage Chain Saw
October-November New York Snow Storm Damage Chain Saw
July Evergreen, AL Hurricane Dennis Mass Feeding
August Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas Hurricane Katrina Shower / Laundry / Mass Feeding / Recovery / Communications
September Mississippi & Louisiana Hurricane Rita Shower / Laundry / Mass Feeding / Recovery / Communications
October Pompano Beach, FL Hurricane Wilma Mass Feeding
May-June Giles County, TN Tornado Recovery
June Prestonburg, KY Floods Flood Recovery
August Fort Myers, FL Hurricane Charlie Recovery / Communications / Mass Feeding / Crisis Intervention
September Port St. Lucie
Vero Beach, FL
Hurricane Frances Recovery / Mass Feeding / Communications
  Atmore, AL
Pace, FL
Atmore, AL
Hurricane Ivan Recovery / Mass Feeding / Crisis Intervention / Long-Term Rebuild
  Florida Hurricane Jeanne Recovery / Mass Feeding
January Morgan County, TN Tornado Long Term Rebuild
  Ohio Ice Storm Recovery
April Iraq War Relief Family Food Box Project
May Madison, Rutherford, Dyer, Williamson, Sevier, Lincoln, Robertson, Jasper, Hamilton, and Marion Counties, TN Tornadoes / Storms Recovery / Damage Assessment / Christmas Boxes / Crisis Intervention
July Indiana Floods National Incident Command
  Shelby County, TN Storms Damage Assessment / Mass Feeding / Recovery
August Ohio Floods Mudout
September Virginia Beach, VA
Newbern, NC
Hurricane Isabel Mass Feeding / Recovery / Communications / Mass Feeding
January West Virginia Floods Damage Assessment
April Bristol, VA Floods Mass Feeding
  Lewisburg, TN Factory Closing Crisis Intervention
May Roanoke, VA Law Enforcement Mem. Crisis Intervention
June Fayette County, WV Floods Long Term Rebuild
  Gaza, Israel War Relief Crisis Intervention / Food Distribution
  Roseau County, MN Floods Mud Out
  Ardmore, TN Riot Trauma Crisis Intervention
  Texas Floods Temp. Emergency Child Care
August-September Fayette Cty., WV Floods Mass Feeding, Rebuild
October Kenner, LA Hurricane Lili Recovery
November Tennessee Tornadoes Recovery / Mass Feeding / Crisis Intervention
December Thomasville, NC Ice Storm Recovery
April El Salvador Earthquake Rebuild
July Peytona, WV Floods Mass Feeding / Rebuild
August Greene County, TN Floods Recovery
September New York City Terrorist Attack Mass Feeding / Crisis Intervention / Dust Out
January East Nashville, TN Tornado Recovery
April Mozambique Flood Food Distribution
May Hickman County, TN Tornado Recovery
  Glorieta, NM Fire Mass Feeding
  Williamson / Davidson Co., TN Storms Recovery
July Summertown, TN Drought Water Distribution
September Pikeville, TN Drought Water Distribution
December Arkansas Ice Recovery
January Jackson / Clarksville, TN Tornado Mass Feeding / Recovery
May KS / OK / NE Tornado Shower Unit
  Linden, TN Tornado Recovery
September Kinston, NC Hurricane Floyd Mass Feeding / Rebuild
  Cat Island, Bahamas Hurricane Floyd Rebuild
October Kosovo War Relief Food Distribution
  Turkey Earthquake Food Distribution
November Nicaragua Hurricane Mitch Rebuild
December Venezuela Flood Rebuild
  Honduras Flood Rebuild
January Roan Mt., TN Flood Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Tennessee Snow / Ice Recovery
February Tennessee Snow / Ice Recovery
April Nashville, TN Tornado Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Wayne County, TN Tornado Recovery
July Lawrenceburg, TN Flood Mass Feeding / Recovery
August Elizabeth City, NC Hurricane Bonnie Mass Feeding
December Van Buren County, TN Ice Mass Feeding
November St. Kitts, Caribbean Hurricane Georges Rebuild
  Venezuela Flood Rebuild
March Dyersburg, TN Flood Recovery
  Madisonville, KY Flood Mass Feeding
June Grand Forks, ND Flood Recovery
January Mechanicsburg, PA Flood Mass Feeding
September Clinton, NC Hurricane Fran Mass Feeding
May Kenner, LA Flood Mass Feeding
  Dyersburg, TN Flood Mass Feeding
February California Earthquake Mass Feeding
  Lawrenceburg, TN Ice Storm Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Mississippi Ice Storm Mass Feeding
  Jackson, TN Ice Storm Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Clarksdale, MS Ice Storm Mass Feeding
  Iron City, TN Ice Storm Recovery
  Albany, GA Flood Temp. Emergency Child Care
  Angleton / Houston, TX Flood Mass Feeding
July Cape Girardeau, MO Flood Mass Feeding
August South FL Hurricane Andrew Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Houma, LA Hurricane Andrew Mass Feeding / Recovery
March Elba, AL Flood Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Adamsville, TN Tornado Mass Feeding / Recovery
  Selmer, TN Tornado Mass Feeding / Recovery
February Copper Hill, TN Flood Mass Feeding
September Macedonia, SC Hurricane Hugo Mass Feeding / Recovery
December Williamson Co., TN Tornado Mass Feeding
December Millington, TN Tornado / Flood Mass Feeding
February Cleveland, TN Tornado Mass Feeding / Recovery
September East TN Drought Hay Lift
October Hermann, MO Flood Mass Feeding
January Tracy City, TN Ice Storm Mass Feeding
September Pascagoula, MS Hurricane Elena Mass Feeding
October Slidell, LA Hurricane Juan Mass Feeding
November Apalachicola, FL Hurricane Kate Mass Feeding
March Maxton, NC Tornado Mass Feeding
May Pikeville, KY Flood Mass Feeding
September Long Beach, NC Hurricane Diana Mass Feeding
Aug Kemah, TX Hurricane Alicia Mass Feeding
March Ft. Wayne, IN Flood Mass Feeding
May Marion, IL Tornado Mass Feeding
September Trenton, TN Flood Mass Feeding
December St. Genevieve, MO Flood Mass Feeding
May LaVergne, TN Flood Mass Feeding
September Mobile, AL Hurricane Frederic Mass Feeding
April Waverly, TN Tanker Car Explosion Financial Assistance


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