Risk Assessments in Your Place of Worship
Take Risk Assessments Seriously for Mitigation
Whether there isn’t enough funding, resources, time, etc., risk assessments almost never reach their full potential in places of worship. However, when a crisis happens, churches are left to clean up the mess, spending much more time, money and resources to respond to the disaster than they would have implementing changes that were likely recommended on the assessment.
Howard Sklar, a contributor for Forbes made an excellent point when he said, “The first, most egregious, and most common failure is to consider the risk assessment as a document and not a process.” Instead of trying to check off a to-do list item by completing a risk assessment, look at it as more of a process in which the safety conversation continues and your congregation and visitors are safer and more secure. When we begin to consider something a process, we become more invested and give more time and effort into making it successful, effective and worth our time. Make risk assessments an ongoing process for continued and strategic mitigation in your church.
Risk assessments can be performed by your facility staff, or you can hire a third party to come do one. Either way, a complete walk through is done at your facility and vulnerabilities are documented. Things like inadequate lighting around secondary exits, or past due inspections on kitchen equipment are some risks that may be on your assessment. Once you identified the areas of concern for safety and security, put in place changes to meet these needs. Don’t wait until a disaster happens to make changes at your place of worship. Instead, take your risk assessment seriously as a process for increased safety and preparedness.
A good risk assessment should be forward-thinking and progressive. Although we learn from history and past mistakes, your risk assessment should focus on present day vulnerabilities and how those might play out if gone unchanged. Instead of focusing on a kitchen fire from five years ago, focus on current risk, short term, and long term consequences. By doing so, your assessments become more meaningful and eye-opening which should be a motivator to take them seriously and use them to their fullest potential for your church.
Risk assessments are one of the most valuable assets to a church’s safety and security plans. Often times though, they become a to-do list item and after doing a walk through, effective changes are not made. Don’t wait until a crisis happens to implement changes to increase your church’s safety and security. Sometimes, the implications are far greater than we can imagine. Invest in preparedness so you’re not forced to invest in response and clean up from an incident.
If you need help performing a risk assessment for your place of worship, contact us today.