5 Safety Concerns to Address in Your Place of Worship
Having concerns is normal and often leads to increased safety awareness and preparation. Places of worship are a soft target these days and have concerns for the safety and security of their grounds and visitors. Setting up safeguards is a wise decision and can help alleviate stress and concern. Today I am going to give you a list of 5 things that you should be concerned about in your place of worship and some ways to address them and increase their security.
Access control should be the biggest safety concern for your place of worship. You work hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for your congregation, but that doesn’t prevent those who wish harm to find their way into your services. Access control includes locking unused entrances, utilizing surveillance cameras, installing motion sensing lights, and adding a physical safety presence during service times.
Acknowledge that this is an issue and utilize your safety team to casually guard designated areas during services. When worship is not taking place, secure all access points and employ the use of surveillance cameras.
Staying up-to-date on maintenance is crucial for the security of your place of worship. Vandalism, broken windows, doors, old lights and generally unkempt grounds draw more unwelcome disorder.
Maintenance should be dealt with in timely manner; graffiti should be cleaned up and broken glass and old lights must be replaced to ensure the most secure grounds. Maintenance work can be stored efficiently in digital format for added organization and simple research for ongoing issues.
Ease of Accessibility
How easy is it for your congregation to access your facility? If normal cars have difficulty navigating through your parking lots, it will be even harder for first responders.
If your entrances and exits are not easily accessible, consider doing a small renovation, even if that includes repainting parking lines or moving shrubbery to create a more open area for first responder vehicles, this is one of the easiest safety concerns to prevent.
Having an Effective Safety Team
If you don’t have a safety team for your place of worship, you are missing a significant piece to the safety puzzle of effectively preparing for and handling emergencies. Safety team members are advantageous to planning for and responding to crisis situations, whether it be a member of the congregation falling and hurting themselves, or an unwelcome visitor lurking around the corner. Safety team members are the eyes and ears around the grounds when services are being held.
If you don’t have a safety team in place, read our best practice to learn ways to create one or motivate a team that is already in place.
Medical emergencies are likely the most common emergencies or crises that you will deal with. There is typically a significant number of aging adults in any given service and they are more susceptible to medical emergencies. Being prepared for these types of emergencies should be a safety concern for anyone in a place of worship.
Preparation is the easiest way to address medical emergencies at your place of worship. Having a doctor, nurse, or someone who is trained in CPR and First Aid should be a member of the security team. Their role is to handle the medical emergencies like heart attacks, children choking, strokes, etc. Ensure that your place of worship has a stocked first aid kit and a portable automated external defibrillator (AED).
Places of worship tend to have open door policies, allowing congregation members and visitors to freely access and worship when they desire, even if that is outside of normal service times. Because of this, it is more difficult to adequately maintain security. The 5 issues presented today are just a starting point for places of worship, there are a number of other issues that should be of concern. Try practicing some of these techniques to increase safety and security on your place of worship grounds, and decrease safety concerns any time of the day.