Disaster Response

March 2023

Dear Brothers,

I need help in locating another Brother Knight or friend who would be willing to donate/work fixing 10 Husqvarna chainsaws and 6 leaf blowers that were donated to our Disaster Response Team. Most appear to be in good to fair condition. They are returns from Lowes for one reason or another.  Some pull, some don’t. Would like to have them all serviced and repaired if possible. Those that are shot might be able to be used for parts?  Either way if you know of a Brother Knight who would like to take on this project for our DR Team, please advise.

Indiana Knights of Columbus

Council Disaster Response Program Plan:

Part One: The Grand Knight is to take his council area of service including schools and parishes along with public schools as many have Catholic students in them. Review all possible facilities that can be used for shelters or distribution points.  

Grand Knight, break your area up into 4 workable sections.  If you have a vast area to cover then break your area into 6 sections.  Select 4-6 Council members, they do not have to be officers, recommend retired members who can be around area all day, be able to make phone calls, or drive out in his selected area if necessary to check on Brother Knights in case of a disaster. Recommend the 4/6 members (section coordinators) selected select who will be the Council/Area DR Team Chairman. 

The Financial Secretary will supply a list of all Knights in each of the 4/6 sections with the Name, Addresses, Phone numbers, Emails, and other contact information for every Knight in each area, to each Section Coordinators and Council/Area DR Chairman.

If a Disaster should hit, your community.  These four/six Section Coordinators will start the process of contacting all members in their assigned section.  (Please other Knights do not call them, they will call you.  Do not tie up their phones.) Section Coordinators if you hear of one Knight with damage, please do not call your Area Chairman until you have called or made contact with everybody in your section, and everyone is accounted for.

The four/six Section Coordinators will come together either physically or by phone/email and make a report to the Council/Area DR Chairman.

The Chairman will make the call to the Indiana Knights of Columbus Disaster Response Coordinator Bill McDonald to request any needed assistance...

Bill McDonald, Knights of Columbus Indiana Disaster Response Coordinator

                               812-689-6699; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Until the State Disaster Response Team or other service organizations units arrive   the Council Disaster Response Team can call upon other brother Knights who are home and able (who might have a truck or van), go pick up tarps and other supplies needed in his area.  They may also need food or clothing.  The Red Cross, Catholics Charities and all others disaster service organizations will know about the disaster that hit your area and they will also, be on the move.

Councils are requested to set up a Council Disaster Fund to help their Brother Knights until the other charitable units get to the scene. This fund can be a Credit Card or Bank Debit Card with a set amount set aside for this purpose ONLY.  Keep the location for the Council Disaster Team Leader can access it without any delay.

Councils are requested to send in $1.00 per each member to the Indiana KC Disaster Relief Fund.  Councils then should assess each member $1.00 per year along with their dues.  We do not believe $1.00 a year is too much to ask for your so members to have immediate help in time of a Disaster.  This will help fund the Indiana Knights of Columbus Disaster Response Team and Program and enable them to respond immediately when requested.

Please make checks payable as follows:

Indiana Knights of Columbus Charity Fund Inc.

Memo: Disaster Response Fund

Mail to:                         PSD Paul Zielinski

                                    4974 Roxbury Court

                                    Pittsboro, IN 46167

Brothers, I hope you will never need this program, but should you do, rest assured you and your family will be taken care of.

Part Two: The Council should now prepare a Council Disaster Response Plan to determine how and where your council will continue to operate during a disaster and how can you serve your community once you have met the immediate needs of your members.   The Council DR Chair should work with the local emergency agencies, fire and police departments, etc. to see where the Knights can be of assistance.

Part Three:  Prepare a “Plan of Action” on how you may be able to assist your neighboring K of C Councils should they be hit by a disaster. (A council affected by a disaster may be busy digging themselves out and will need your help.) Secure the contact information of the Grand Knight and FS from all adjoining Councils.

You may also maintain the Council DR Chairmans and Section Coordinators for additional contacts. In all disasters, communications are essential and phone and cell service can be affected. Be prepare to travel and make personal contact as necessary.

Always keep your State Disaster Response Coordinator appraised of all ongoing operations, as he may be able to secure additional assistance.  

Bill McDonald
Indiana State Council - Knights of Columbus
Disaster Response Chair
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(812) 689-6699
Vivat Jesus


Emergency situations can happen at any time, making it crucial that you are prepared for the unexpected long before it happens. Plan for possible emergencies like this:

         Research and prepare for natural disasters common to your area, such as floods, snow and sleet storms, earthquakes, or tornadoes

         Create an emergency kit for both your home and car

         Create a home emergency plan with your family and learn how to shut off your utilities

         Be a good participant in emergency drills at work and school by following instructions and paying attention to lessons learned

         Store important phone numbers, including those of family members, with other important documents in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box

         Learn first aid and CPR for children and adults – check out the NSC First Aid app

Know how to respond to an active shooter with free NSC training NSC at https://www.nsc.org/community-safety.  Stock Your Emergency Kits Now.  Emergency kits can help you prepare for the worst, but only if they are properly stocked and regularly refreshed.  Your home emergency kit should be very accessible and contain:

         Food and water for each family member for three days as well as a can opener and nonperishable foods, such as tuna and peanut butter

         Hand-crank or battery-powered flashlight and radio with extra batteries

         Full first aid kit, including hand sanitizer and garbage bags

         Plastic sheeting and duct tape for broken windows or a leaky roof

         Whistle to signal for help so rescuers can locate you.

Your car emergency kit should contain:

         A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, tripod jack and jumper cables

         A tool kit, compass, duct tape and car charger for your cell phone

         A flashlight with extra batteries, a rain poncho, and a fire extinguisher

         Reflective triangles and vest, and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible

         A first aid kit and enough nonperishable food and water for three days

         Cold weather items such as a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction and blankets, and hand warmers packs.

With COVID Virus protocol still in effect prepare for social distancing at shelters along with other safety measures.  If sheltering at home take proper safety precaution if using a generator or fuel type heaters. CO2 is a silent killer.

Preparation is the key to survival.



 Any donations you wish to make to the Indiana State Council, Charity Fund Inc.

    Send to:  IPSD Paul Zielinski 4974 Roxbury Ct. Pittsboro, In 46167

HERE is a reminder document about Tornado Safety Tips. HERE is a Tornado Safety Tips Poster.

In the aftermath of a tornado, workers may be involved in a variety of response and recovery operations. The following are general guidelines that may be applicable to workers involved in assessing and/or cleaning up the damage to their worksite. However, some operations, such as utility restoration, cleaning up spills of hazardous materials, and search and rescue, should only be conducted by workers who have the proper training, equipment and experience.

Potential Hazards: Response and recovery work in tornado-impacted areas presents safety and health hazards that should be properly identified, evaluated, and controlled in a systematic manner to reduce or eliminate occupational safety and health risks to response and recovery workers. Some of the specific hazards associated with working in the aftermath of tornadoes include:

  • Hazardous driving conditions due to slippery and/or blocked roadways
  • Slips and falls due to slippery walkways
  • Falling and flying objects such as tree limbs and utility poles
  • Sharp objects including nails and broken glass
  • Electrical hazards from downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines
  • Falls from heights
  • Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure
  • Exhaustion from working extended shifts
  • Heat and Dehydration

General Precautions: Continue to monitor your local radio or television stations for emergency information and the potential of additional storms. Be aware of possible structural, electrical, or gas-leak hazards. 

  • If such hazards are identified, report them to the proper local authorities and/or utility.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed power lines.
  • Wear proper clothing when walking on or near debris, including boots and gloves.
  • Be careful around sharp objects, including nails and broken glass.
  • Use the proper safety precautions when operating generators, chainsaws, or other power tools.
  • Take steps to prevent heat illnesses and dehydration.
  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for additional precautions to take after a tornado.

Fact Sheets and Quick Cards: OSHA has the following materials to assist employers with assessing and controlling the hazards common to most response and recovery work in tornado-impacted areas.

For additional information see the Occupational Heat Exposure Safety and Health Topics page.

For more information, see other Emergency Response Resources from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) or for a full list of related materials, see the Additional Resources page. 

Click below to read more about:

Indiana State Council Disaster Response Mission:

To promote education and training for Local and State Disaster Response Programs and assist Councils and their Members in the Indiana State Council jurisdiction during a disaster.  This is achieved thru a collaborative partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Indiana Disaster Response and The Indiana State Council Disaster Response Coordinator.

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness:

Being properly prepared for a likely disaster will determine if you will be a victim or survivor. Each member must prepare a personal/family disaster plan. It is only when we have taken care of ourselves and family can we respond effectively to our communities and parish. Each Council must also prepare a disaster plan to be implemented to carry out the Council missions and to provide assistance to its members to minimize the effects of a disaster.  

Communications is crucial during any emergency/disaster.

All emergency/disaster plans should include plans of communication to member, councils and state officers.  Traditional means of communication can be affected during a disaster. Alternate means need to be studied and used as needed.  The assistance of a neighboring Council should be considered in your Council Disaster Plans, as your members may be busy tending to their own families and property. Many times personal contact is the only means available, plan accordingly.

State Council Assistance:

The Knights of Columbus Indiana State Council has Disaster Response Trailer loaded with basic supplies and tools, available to loan to Councils to assist their members during the Early Response Phase of a disaster. The Grand Knight or Financial Secretary of a Council needs to contact the Indiana State Council Disaster Response Coordinator to request its use.  In most circumstances the trailer will be delivered to the site requested. At that point the Council is responsible for the safety of the trailer and its contents. 


The Indiana State Council Disaster Response Program has agreed to a collaborative partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Disaster Response to be a force multiplier during times of emergency/disasters.  Catholic Charities has been involved in Disaster Response for many years and are consider one of the Nations experts in this field. It is the goal of this partnership to reduce duplications of services and resources.

Under this collaborative effort Indiana Knights will be trained, supervised, and deployed thru Catholic Charities to provide continuity in training, planning and execution of services for Early Response and Long Term Recovery Programs. This by no means prevents Councils from providing services directly to their Community First Responders and/or Parishes.   To the contrary part of the Council Disaster Preparedness Plan should include contacting other community organizations and establishing local partnerships. Open communication and coordination will reduce duplication of services and resources which will lead to a smooth and effective recovery.

Preparedness Checklist:

  • Make a plan about potential emergencies/disaster and how to deal with them.
  • Practice and maintain your plans. Communicate with members and adjoining Councils.
  • Build an emergency first aid and supply kit.
  • Keep Informed
  • Know your community and neighbors
  • The question to keep asking is “ WHAT IF “

For additional information check with

  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security.com
  • Indiana Emergency Response and Recovery
  • Indiana State Council Disaster Response Coordinator 
  • Bill McDonald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  812-689-6699
Bill McDonald
Indiana State Council - Knights of Columbus
Disaster Response Chair
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(812) 689-6699
Vivat Jesus


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