Ready or Not, Here I Come
Preparing for a Church Crisis or Catastrophe
There’s no calm before the storm. Today, more than ever, we’re faced with life-altering threats caused by natural catastrophes, violence or man-made incidents. No one is exempt from such events, including the local church. In fact, the church has more exposure than most. It’s become a place for refuge, as well as a place of attack. Either way, emergency preparedness is a must.
Creating an emergency plan is critical to ensure your building and church members remain safe from harm. What kind of plans should be implemented? Consider the following:
- Trained Staff Members & Processes- Should a severe weather or life-threatening event occur, the church should have trained key staff and volunteers who know the emergency plan and can lead members to a safe place. Having designated glow-in-the-dark markings within the church that are readily visible would keep crowds organized and calm during the event. Identifying secure, pre-appointed places to gather should also be considered. The goal is to keep members out of harm’s way.
- Security Guards & Alert Systems- Many churches have contracted or employed security guards both armed and unarmed. Having a strategic plan of action to deploy security is important. Pre-event role playing is also useful to ensure all security personnel are on the same page with the same goals and focus. Sticking to a plan will help parties respond with a clear mind and not an impulsive reaction. Also systems that can alert members’ cell phones of potential threats are available and should be considered.
- Medical Ministries- Man-made events, as well as medical issues can cause panic. The key is to keep calm, think and follow instructions from leaders equipped to handle difficult situations. Many churches have medical ministries with nurses and EMT’s on call. Creating such ministries can help prevent further injuries and give church members peace of mind. Having defibrillation equipment readily available is also essential.
Creating a plan and following it will help your church minimize risk and potential harm in a dangerous situation. Be prepared, as it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” the storm will knock on your door. For more information on catastrophe planning or how to create a Protection Ministry at your church, contact the ‘A’ Team.
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