Creating Safety Teams in Your Place of Worship
Safety teams can be the difference between a disaster and an emergency that is handled efficiently and effectively. Whether you already have a safety team for your place of worship, or you need assistance with organizing one, these best practices can help keep your church feeling welcome and open but with an added layer of security.
- To start a safety team or recruit more involvement, consider asking current volunteers if they are interested in holding a position on your safety team. Many times, people that already volunteer are willing to volunteer a little more but remember to rotate team members to keep burnouts from happening. Remember, your safety team members are interested in sitting in services as well.
- An effective safety team should be a compilation of individuals who are willing and able to assist in times of emergency in accordance with their age, capabilities and expertise. Look for members with military or law enforcement training and those who will be passionate about their position.
- It is important to have a common goal of added security for your place of worship. At your first meeting, the goal of the team should be discussed and agreed upon. Your small yet concise team should know their role in adding to the safety of your religious center. Whether it be someone who patrols the parking lot before your congregation starts arriving, or someone who stands at the doors to your place of worship, everyone should know their individual role and how it adds to the whole of the team.
- Hold meetings at least once a month to discuss expectations and address items that need more attention. Listen to the input that your safety team gives and work together to plan for the unexpected, making sure that team members are on the same page. Each member should know exactly what to do for various emergencies that may arise, including staging areas.
- Invite your local first responders to your safety team meetings so you can create congruent emergency plans and share your emergency plans for fires, active shooters, etc. This not only helps your first responders get a better idea of your plans, but they may be able to provide insight for even more increased security or show how a plan may be more effective.
You have worked hard to provide a welcoming and open environment for your congregation to worship in and by adding the presence of a safety team, you are ensuring that when an emergency happens you are prepared to respond to any type of emergency.