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Purpose of a Disaster plan

To prepare a team of chaplains for natural or man-made disasters so that they can offer community and government authorities chaplains to assist in energy and disaster situations 


What is a disaster?

The American Red Cross defines a disaster as an emergency that causes the loss of life and property, and a disruption in which survivors cannot manage without spiritual, monetary, or physical assistance. Disasters may be human-made (e.g., terrorism, industrial accidents) or natural (hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.). 

Four phases of disaster

1. Rescue. The primary task is to save lives and property. Essential personnel include emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement professionals. Nonprofessionals may be able to give first aid and call for help. Chaplains may be called on to supply Spiritual care.

2. Relief. The major task is to create safe and sanitary conditions for survivors and emergency personnel attending to them. Faith communities may provide clothing, food, shelter, health care, and pastoral response.

3. Short-term recovery. The major tasks include damage assessment, restoration of utilities, temporary repair, reestablishment of communications, and maintenance of civic order.

4. Long-term recovery. Principal tasks are rebuilding lives and communities, conducting grief counseling and dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual unmet needs.


Spiritual Care

During the rescue faze chaplains can be used to supply spiritual and emotional care to victims as follows

1.     Asses the survivors that are not in the need of immediate medical attention

2.     Dealing with family separation

3.     Death notification

4.     Comforting the bereaved

5.     Recommendations for further mental health attention

This is usually accomplished from and in conjunction with a First Responder or Crises command post or hospital in the area.

Having Chaplains on the Crises team has so many advantages that many goverment and private organizations have not only recognized this but are now asking for chaplains.

Optimized Process
Optimized Process

Roger J. Roth

In April of 1980, I came into this wonderful truth in Bremerton, Washington on my way out of my enlistment in the US Navy. I met a young lady in the church there and two and a half years later we were married. Kathy and I now have 5 children and as of June this year, 16 grandchildren. We assisted in the church in many capacities including Head Usher, teaching Sunday School, Youth Leader and assistant pastor. After working in the Shipyard until 1993 as a Shipfitter and Nuclear/Radiological work procedures instructor, we moved to Gig Harbor to start a Home Missions work. Three other churches in three other towns came out of that work and it is still going but starting all over.

I went to work in the Funeral Industry and began to get a burden for people in crisis. I knew the local PD Chaplain (he was a Nazarene Pastor) and one day during lunch he let me know that his wife finally succumbed to cancer. We had been expecting that but did not expect that he would soon be leaving town. I told him he couldn’t leave because then there would be no Chaplain. He smiled and said let’s go for a ride. He took me over to the Gig Harbor Police Chief’s office and introduced me as his replacement. That began a very long and rewarding tenure as a Law Enforcement Chaplain.

I went back to school and obtained a degree in Psychology and Sociology through Apostolic School of Theology. The intention was to get an emphasis on crisis intervention, grief and bereavement and perhaps someday a position as a paid chaplain. One month after completing my degree the position for the Staff Chaplain at Pierce County Sheriff’s Department opened. I applied thinking that it would be an interesting experience and hopefully learn a bit more about the process. I knew some of the people that were also applying and thought I had no chance pitted against them.  After several very intense meetings filling several background questionnaires and meeting with different levels of leadership, the wait was on. I was called about a month and a half later and told that I needed to meet at one of the county training buildings as myself and six other people made it to the oral board portion, which would be the time you present yourself in impromptu situations and respond to anything they want to ask. Two days later I was told that myself and one other person were the finalists, but that I had an edge. Next top, polygraph and about an hour in a chair that is very reminiscent of an electric chair to the point that the only thing it was missing was the head band.

After the polygraph was the psych eval which is where I thought I would get the boot but passed that with flying colors. On December 18th, 2017 I was called in to the Sheriff’s office and offered the job if I still wanted it. My official start date would be January 8, 2018 but for now I would be getting uniforms, and other assorted pre-hire things. I would now be responsible for the spiritual welfare of almost 700 commissioned personnel and those civilians I would be called to the scenes of. That was a major change from the 20 I dealt with at Gig Harbor PD. This was after years of Crisis Intervention Stress Management, Psychological and Mental Health First Aid, Debriefing and Defusing, Notifications, On scene protocol and a long list of other topics you need to know to do what Chaplains do. I was already a Master Chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains and a Chaplain with Tacoma-Pierce County Chaplains Association (T-PCC) both of which provide world class training. I had gone through the Chaplains Academy sponsored by T-PCC and a few Regional Training meetings with ICPC.

The night before I was to begin my tenure as the staff chaplain for the sheriff, I was sitting on the edge of my bed at about 2350 thinking that I needed to get some rest as tomorrow was going to be a big day and I told my friends that I really wanted to hit the floor running at my new job. I laid back and let my head sink into the pillow then at 0002 the phone rang. The guy that was doing my job until my official start date called to let me know that we just had a deputy shot and it didn’t look good. I asked him where he was at and where the deputy was being transported to. No one was exactly sure, but I knew the hospital that had trauma that weekend and headed there. I told him to call me and update me, but I knew it would be obvious if I was right because there would be so many first responder vehicles around that hospital, I might not be able to park close.

I got to the hospital and headed for the ER ambulance entrance badge on my belt ID around my neck and once I got in the door I ran into the sheriff and two of his top captains. They told me where the two deputies were that were performing CPR on the scene and that the peer support team was with them. When I got there they let me know the deputies wife was enroute and about half an hour out, so I called a female chaplain in that had already called me three times wanting to know if she could help. I put her with the wife, and I took the deputy’s family. The rest of the night and ensuing week at the Emergency Operations Center was intense. You train for LODD’s, but you hope you never have to be involved. A few years earlier on Thanksgiving morning, four of our deputies were essentially ambushed in a coffee shop and I had a part in that, but not as big.

Before that first week was out, there would be another Officer Involved Shooting (OIS). The next few months put me and my team on more homicide and suicide scenes than I had been to in 16 ½ years at my former agency. I was personally on 24 suicides. Much of what we do is called ministry of presence and involves being a calming agent. I have told so many people that don’t get what we do or why we do it that if we do our jobs right when we walk on a scene it is spiritual chaos and when we walk off the scene if we have done it right, you can see people begin to smile again because with the help of the Lord we have begun to instill hope and healing.


Chaplain Roth is Occupational Chaplain’s Regional Director for the northwest which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Chaplain Roth is a chaplain with the Gig Harbor Sheriff’s department, while also responding to several other agencies when called. He is also is extensionally trained in suicide prevention by obtaining a degree in Psychology and Sociology. His work in the funeral industry has given him much experience in grief care.

William N. Dillon

OCA Director 


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Submitted to Chaplain Mark Hattabaugh

   On the frigid night of February 3, 1943, the overcrowded Allied ship U.S.A.T. Dorchester, carrying 902 servicemen, plowed through the dark waters near Greenland.  At 1:00 am, a Nazi submarine fired a torpedo into the transport's flank, killing many in the explosion and trapping others below deck.  It sank in 27 minutes.  The two escort ships, Coast Guard cutters Comanche and Escanaba, were able to rescue only 231 survivors. 

   In the chaos of fire, smoke, oil and ammonia, four chaplains calmed sailors and distributed life jackets.  They were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Clark V. Poling,  Dutch Reformed; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish.

   When there were no more life jackets, the four chaplains ripped off their own and put them on four young men.  As the ship went down, survivors floating in rafts could see the four chaplains linking arms and bracing themselves on the slanting deck.  They bowed their heads in prayer as they sank to their icy deaths.

   Congress honored them by declaring this "Four Chaplains Day."  On February 7, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower spoke from the White House for the American Legion "Back-to-God" Program:  "And we remember that, only a decade ago, aboard the transport Dorchester, four chaplains of four faiths together willingly sacrificed their lives so that four others might live.  In the three centuries that separate the Pilgrims of the Mayflower from the chaplains of the Dorchester, America's freedom, her courage, her strength, and her progress have had their foundation in faith..."  America's God and Country Eneyelopedia of Quotations.

   Eisenhower continued:  "Today as then, there is need for positive acts of renewed recognition that faith is our surest strength, our greatest resource.  This 'Back-to-God' movement is such a positive act...  Whatever our individual church, whatever our personal creed, our common faith in God is a common bond among us...  Together we thank the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.  By the millions, we speak prayers, we sing hymns-and no matter what their words may be, their spirit is the same-'In God is our Trust.'"

   Eisenhower stated in his address:  "As a former soldier, I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives.  In battle, they learned a great truth-that there are no atheists in the foxholes."

Officer Resource Center

Recomended site by Chaplain Hattabaugh

A Day In The Life of A Police Chaplain

by Senior Pastor Mark Hattabaugh, Cooper City, FL

The UPCI has been a movement who’s vision and passion has been “The Whole Gospel To The Whole World!”  Various ministries have been formed and designed to meet this vision we all share.  One of these is Occupational Chaplains Association.  This is a ministry where we focus on training men and women to serve in various roles available to chaplains.  The main areas we focus on are Occupational Chaplains, Hospital/Hospice Chaplains and Law Enforcement/Fire Chaplains. We provide training and certification to prepare men and women to serve in their communities.

Being a volunteer police chaplain allows me to see a side of the Police Department that most civilians never get to see. With all of the bad publicity and certainly even some bad actions by a few officers who wear a badge, some in the community have lost some of their confidence and respect for our Law Enforcement family. I would like to change that attitude.

I ride along with Police Officers all the time, I’m even in their homes counseling their families. I am standing by caskets and holding family members hands, and sometimes I’m in an office counseling married couples. I'm sitting down to have coffee with them while on duty. I pull up on scenes in homes that are torn apart, and maybe help someone trying to get home. Yes, sometimes we pull over people who are simply absent minded but some who have purposely broken the law.

I can't tell you how many times these officers have treated the community with such respect and such dignity - many times with people who have been pulled over and are rude and disrespectful - and yet they've kept their professionalism and their composure.

One of the most difficult things that most civilians do not understand is the fact that police officers go from one call to another (there is no time to process the trauma or heartache). In other words, you are not the only person coming into contact with that officer on that day.

The officer who just pulled you over, may have just come from a child drowning, or a domestic violence abuse situation - or, from helping a young lady who has been raped, or assisting a child who has been strung out on drugs.  He may have just interviewed a family that has been robbed and have lost their sense of dignity and security.

We tend to only see the flashing blue lights behind us - the inconvenience of having to pull our cars over for some infraction that we have committed.  That's all we see. We don't see the officer pulling away from us, scratching his head - still heavy with a load from the call that came from before pulling you over, and is now headed to another difficult call.

So today, as you drive and see an officer pass you by, or pull someone over, I pray that you have compassion, and I pray that you have respect, and it would certainly be good to say a prayer for them and their family. That day, when they walked out of their home, their family said goodbye to them, not knowing if they would return that evening.

Yes, we all know that there are some bad cops, politicians, doctors, and even some bad preachers, but that is not to erase the fact that police officers are precious human beings who put on a badge every day because they took an oath to serve and protect you and I in our communities.  Daily they put their own lives at risk, even when the very communities they are protecting and serving are sometimes the ones that are being so rude and disrespected and even threatening their very lives.

Today, we lost one of our own, not in the line of duty, it was from natural causes.  Nevertheless, the family of the police department came together, rallied together, cried together, and tried to make sense of the fact that we may never be able to truly thank them for their sacrifice.  Today a 9-year-old boy, an 18-year-old girl and a wife of many years - who had shared their dad, husband and their son with the community said goodbye for the last time.

Heroes sometimes wear a badge, and sometimes they don't come home. Pray for them, respect them, and know that they have feelings just like everybody else. Today, as I walk through the halls of our police department, there are many tears being shed, as well as heavy hearts.

We had to drive to the home of the wife, children and parents of the officer that we lost today.  At our police department we had a debriefing with the officers and especially with those that served on the squad with him. The room was very tense, very quiet and very solemn. One thing that you will notice across the nation is that when an officer dies, all police officers are going to have a black stripe across their badge - this is sign of mourning.  As I put one over my badge today I was again reminded of how we are all a family. We all come to serve our community. We all want to see the families in our communities live in safety, and most importantly to get home each night - safely.

May God Bless and continue to protect all of the men and women who are protecting us.

If you would like more information about training or becoming a member of the Occupational Chaplains Association, please visit us here:

Mark Hattabaugh  

Sr. Pastor - The Pentecostals of Cooper City 


Miramar Police Department  - Broward County Florida

Occupational Chaplain Association

Director of Law Enforcement/Fire Chaplains


Arkansas State Trooper 1st Class Moomey hit a drunk driver head on, ON PURPOSE!  The drunk was speeding the wrong way on the interstate highway, obviously posing a grave danger to others.

     The durnk is dead, the Trooper is barely hanging on.  The Trooper made a deliberate, informed decision to stop a threat despite a very low chance of survival for himself. 

     He quite literally put himself between innocents and a threat.

     The Hallsville Community and the Hallsville First Responders stand and salute you, Trooper Moomey for your sacrifice and heroism.

HERE IS A NEED for a Chaplain to minister to the family of the injured Trooper's family, and his coworkers in the division in which he served; and a need for a Hospital Chaplain to work with the family of the injured trooper.  There is also a need for an EMT Chaplain to work with those who had to go and bring him into the hospital.  So many lives and emotions are devestated by this matter!

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Caring in Action

Director of Occupational Chaplains

All applications are to be sent to

OCA Director William Dillon  
264 South Veterans Memoral Blvd 
Tupelo, MS 38804

Phone: 870-814-0901

OCA is an endorsed project of the UPCI in the Office of Education and Endorsments 

36 Research Park Court Weldon Spring MO 63304