Preparedness Key To Surviving Disasters,
Serving Survivors

September 11, 2013

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — When Father Raphael Barberg and Father Angelo Pappas responded to Ground Zero in the early days following 9/11 as two of the first members of the IOCC Emergency Response Network, they relied on their years of training and preparation serving with fire and police departments to render assistance. As we solemnly remember the tragic events that forever changed our nation 12 years ago, we are reminded that disaster can strike at any time and that being prepared will help you and your loved ones to survive.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), which has been delivering emergency relief to disaster survivors worldwide since 1992, offers a four-point emergency checklist to help keep you and your loved ones safe until help arrives. The plan includes action steps to prepare emergency supplies and ways to get involved in helping others.

"While IOCC is committed to responding to disasters such as the recent wildfires that took homes and lives in Yarnell, Arizona, and the tornados that struck the Oklahoma City area, we equally see our mission as helping people prepare before such disasters occur," said IOCC U.S. Country Representative Daniel Christopulos. "September which is National Preparedness Month, gives us the opportunity to be more intentional about how to lessen the impact of such natural and man-made disasters."

Father Alexander F. C. Webster, one of the more than 75 clergy and lay members who make up IOCC's nationwide Emergency Response Network, or Frontline, adds that having a personal emergency plan in place serves as a foundation to become better equipped to help others in distress. "Preparing our Orthodox clergy and faithful in every Orthodox Church or mission in the United States to respond to disasters in their own localities is to heed the Apostle Paul's call in Ephesians 4:12 'to equip the saints for the work of ministry'. This outreach is a way of 'building up the body of Christ' while demonstrating to our neighbors in desperate need who we truly are as the people of God."

"As we pray for the souls of those who lost their lives twelve years ago, we remember the spirit of the days that followed when people reached out to help their brothers and sisters in need," recalled Christopulos. "We honor the memory of those who have been lost on 9/11 and other disasters by continuing to reach out to those in need and be prepared ourselves."

IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $438 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. To learn more about IOCC, visit

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489,

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