Place of Worship Safety Team Members
In August, we brought you a post on creating a safety team for your place of worship where we discussed how to recruit involvement and how often you should meet. Today, we want to expand on that by providing you with some roles and responsibilities that your church safety team members should be assigned in the event of an emergency on your grounds. Not sure who you need on your safety team and what they should do during a crisis? We have your answers!
You may be wondering what type of person to look for when recruiting for your safety team. If you already have safety team members for your place of worship, let them help by recruiting those who they trust and who have a desire to see the security of the church increased. Effective team work is built on trust and safety team members must be able to trust each other.
Once you have narrowed down your pool of trusted individuals for your place of worship safety team, screen them with simple background checks. These individuals will have access to restricted areas of your grounds and you want to ensure that they meet the qualifications and don’t have criminal records. Those with good intentions probably won’t object to the formalities of performing background checks.
The next step in this process is identifying what expertise these individuals have that can contribute to the team. Ask about experience in law enforcement, medical backgrounds, military training, facility management skills, or special leadership skills. Although experience is not required, it is helpful and can be highly beneficial. Once you narrow down each team members strengths, you can assign roles and lay out the responsibilities.
Your place of worship safety team will take on many roles during a normal day, from greeting visitors and members, checking the education areas, participating in services and checking the parking lot. During an emergency situation however, they will take on very different and structured roles, which should be laid out and trained for at the beginning of their time as a member and periodically after that.
Here are the main roles that need to be filled by your safety team members during an emergency situation at your place of worship:
- Incident Commander – This person is the head of the safety team. They will be in charge and the go-to person for information. The incident commander monitors the implementation of the emergency plans and communicates with outside agencies.
- Operations Leader – This member will be the assistant to the incident commander and should have strong leadership skills. Also, the operations leader should document the events that take place during the emergency and should know the location of other members and the responsibilities they are performing.
- Medical Coordinator – Your medical coordinator should have medical experience and a good deal of education in this area including up-to-date certification in CPR and First Aid. In the event of a crisis situation, your medical coordinator will set up a triage location and begin treating victims. During a medical emergency in your place of worship, the medical coordinator should take the lead until EMS arrives.
- Safety Coordinator – An effective safety coordinator is a continual symbol for safety in your place of worship. They are the spokesman for your congregation, but during an emergency, this individual will assign, supervise and coordinate security. They will also work to secure the perimeter and brief the incident commander on updates about the situation at hand. If your place of worship is faced with a lost child situation, the safety coordinator will lock down the grounds and assign other team members to stand guard at access points and begin a thorough search inside and outside of buildings. The person, or persons who take on this role should have strong leadership skills, and preferably experience in law enforcement or military training.
- Facilities Coordinator – A facilities coordinator will ideally have experience doing this in other organizations, or a background in utilities such as gas, water or electrical. This person will need complete access to your grounds and must know the locations and emergency shut off procedures for gas, water and electricity.
Safety teams are vital to the security and integrity of your place of worship and require consistent training and review of processes. Safety team members are responsible for much more than typical service safety and must be prepared to resume their roles in an emergency situation that might occur on your church grounds. Does your place of worship have an active and effective safety team? What are some of the roles and responsibilities that your members perform to increase your church’s safety? Let us know in the comments below!