Do you have a protocol in place for how to handle issues which may arise in your house of worship??
If you are on your church’s leadership team and you don’t have a safety team with strategic protocol in place, then establishing best practices for security guidelines should become a priority. Professional Defense Advisors can help
Get certified in a number of safety and security disciplines through online training or blended learning on your schedule, with the same content and certifications as in person. At ProDefense Academy we have the online course titled, “House of Worship Security Teams-Options for Consideration”. Every time a group of people gathers, there are always safety concerns.
Wherever you have a group gathering, you have the potential of an incident to occur—whether that be a conflict, medical issue, or mental health issue.
There is a need to have a plan for those who have operational control to be ready when an incident occurs to minimize the risk.
Don’t take a chance with your safety by failing to plan if a critical incident occurs.
As leaders, it falls on you to mitigate harm to your congregants, not by being the security officer, but by delegating a staff who are properly trained to have safety protocol in place for potential incidents.
Here are several best practices you need to follow to protect your church.
Get the right people
Your team requires these three groups. You must have all three in place to have success
- Security Staff
- Police and fire professionals hopefully who are members of the church
- Volunteers to aid in the execution
The church staff will administer the security team; the police and fire professionals will help get the team built and trained; the volunteers will assist in executing at each event.
It takes a team to administer and manage the security of a church. Each team member must understand what their specific roles and responsibilities are.
Ask for professional help
If you have a small church, ask police and fire professionals in your church to create a plan, vet that plan, and oversee the team. The chances are that police and fire professionals already have their own observations. If you don’t have those resources, you can reach out to security advisors such as Professional Defense Advisors. Michigan Pistol Academy has partnered with Professional Defense advisors to offer an Online Training Course. This course is:
“House of Worship Security Teams-Options and Considerations,” This training consists of 3 segments:
o Firearm Safety
o Legal Consideration for Legal Force
o Mental Conditioning and Tactics
Currently, Michigan Pistol Academy is offering a 25% off, on any of the online courses including this bundle. Use Promo code MPA25 when signing up for classes.
Remember your church security team is not the police
The security team is designed to be first responders and starts operational command during incidents, until law enforcement arrives. Protocol should have a designated person in charge of contacting 911. Law enforcement officers would then take over operational command upon arrival.
Ideally, your security staff should only serve as a way of preventing and deterring as much harm as possible between an incident and the arrival of on-duty police and fire professionals.
Run background checks on all church security team members
Most people who want to volunteer for the security staff are good people with good intentions. Nevertheless, you should run a background check on every single member who serves on one of these staff or volunteer positions. Running these background checks is a way of demonstrating to the church that you take the professional integrity of your security team seriously. Requiring background checks will make people feel safer, and it will add a layer of trust to your security team.
Failing to run background checks on security staff and volunteers is itself a failure of proper security protocol, and should not be optional.
Don’t overlook domestic orders, custody complexities, and mental health issues
The Security Team is the first responders and the incident command. The security team decides when to evacuate the building. It should not be anyone else’s call. That includes the pastor
The security team leader, or their delegate, who have been tasked with overseeing the safety and security team, should designate who has command. Specific tasks then can be rolled down based on the situations’
Write emergency scripts
Work with your pastor to develop scripts, to announce, if an emergency occurs. This script should communicate urgency while avoiding panic, and should communicate safety without obscuring the seriousness of the incident. Communication should be clear as to what congregants should do, where they should go, and when they will receive their next communication. The church will be looking to the pastor to communicate to them exactly what to do in an emergency. Ideally, if an emergency occurs in-service that requires evacuation or immediate attention, the pastor would either utilize a script written by the security team, or quickly hand off the stage to a designated security staff member, who would direct members about what they should do.
Train your safety team
Proactively ask trustworthy professional individuals in your church to join and help train the safety team.
These individuals don’t need to be police or fire professionals, but the team should be trained and overseen by someone who meet the qualifications:
1. Make members feel safe, not intimidated
2. Be a team player, be properly trained and follow the security protocol
Once you have recruited and trained your team, you should hold monthly or quarterly meetings to review incident reports for vulnerability and to analyze how the team, and the protocol, can be optimized. Most importantly, have frequent team training days.
Liaison with local fire and police
Your security team leader and pastor should liaison with local police and fire departments, to develop a positive working relationship with them. This can be as simple as buying lunch for the local department once a quarter and asking to meet with a point person from the department to share your incidents and vulnerabilities. Who knows, maybe the law enforcement agency might offer traffic detail to help with traffic and watch the parking lot.
When you establish a positive working relationship with your local police and fire departments, you should communicate this positive relationship to your church. When members know that the police are present and friendly with the church, it deters potential security threats and it gives members a sense of safety.
Invest in church safety technology
You should at a minimum purchase:
- Security cameras
- Two-way Radio communications for the Security Team and Church Staff
- An AED (automated external defibrillator)
Cameras inside as well as outside can detect, deter, and document potential threats providing an additional layer of protection against liability.
A two-way radio communication technology, enables your team, and church staff to quickly and accurately communicate with other security personnel, as well as church staff. This is absolutely essential when responding to potential security/safety issues. Please note, many situations can be identified in the parking lot. With good radio communication and proper staff placement, many issues can be mitigated. Security team should also be in direct contact with others, such as child care, facilities and ushers. Anyone of which should have ability to contact security on the radio. They are additional eyes and ears.
An AED is a lightweight, battery-operated, portable device that checks the heart’s rhythm and sends a shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. It is important that whenever there is an event at church, there is always someone available who is trained by the security team to use the CPR/FA/AED. Online training is available. Remember the PROMO Code MPA25 for25% off. SIGN UP HERE
Child safety is your top priority
If members don’t feel like their kids are safe at church, they’re not going to come to your church. Be sure that nobody works with children who hasn’t undergone an in-depth background check to ensure that they are trustworthy and aren’t withholding any relevant personal information from the church.
Use a digital giving platform
One of the most common concerns at a church, sadly, is people stealing from the offering plates. An easy way to secure against this possibility is to use a digital giving software, some which is completely free.
In closing, don’t roll the dice on church security.
All of us should believe that the lives and good health of the church family should be protected against those who wished them harm. If you are one of the few that is willing to take on the responsibility, accountability, and perhaps even liability of being one of those protectors, then by all means get the training, maintain those skills, and then be in place the day that evil first steps onto the church grounds.
BUNDLE AND SAVE!
PROMO CODE: MPA25 (25% Off)
Legal Considerations for Use of Force
Mental Conditioning and Tactics
Get certified by our Law Enforcement Advisors in a number of safety and security classes through the online training courses. Get the same content and certifications as in person, but on your own schedule. Also, Non-Lethal Force Alternative, Taser Training and Basic Pistol Training are available on-line
Always Remember to use Discount Code MPA25 (25% OFF)