Would your church be ready to face a security threat or natural disaster? Are you stumped as to how to get started in preparing your congregation? These tips will guide you toward a plan of action.
- Identify a response team in your congregation.
Do you have medical professionals in your congregation? Law enforcement? Military or security professionals?
- Obtain training.
There are a lot of great resources out there now to train your team on handling a potential threat. Check with your insurance company or other local congregations to find out if there is training available in your area.
- Conduct background checks of all employees and volunteers.
If you need information on these checks, contact the Presbytery office.
- Communicate effectively.
Consider investing in two-way radios. Determine staff or members who will call
9-1-1, speak with authorities, media, etc.
- Create a single entrance and easy, marked exits to your facility.
Having one accessible entrance is easier to monitor on a Sunday morning. Make sure that there are multiple exits that are easily accessed by your members.
- Make sure the exterior of your building is well lit and easy to monitor.
- Contact local law enforcement and be aware of potential threats in your area.
- Create an emergency plan that addresses all relevant emergencies (ie: member health emergency, active shooter, fire, natural disaster).
- Identify trouble spots in your building and on your property.
Work with your insurance agent, fire marshall, and local law enforcement to identify safety and security risks to help you create a safer environment for your ministry.
- Talk with the congregation about your new safety and security protocols.
Chances are some things will have changed with your new emergency plan in place- locked entrances, medical equipment availability, etc. Make sure your congregation is informed of these changes.
For more information:
- Church Safety and Disaster Preparedness – the Synod of the Trinity has a collection of resources from various sources that can help you.
- Safety Resources – Church Mutual Insurance offers helpful resources on everything from playground safety to severe weather preparedeness to armed intruder preparedness.