Churches and other faith-based facilities have long been aware of possible threats to those who gather inside their walls, and recent events have refocused attention in that direction.
The 38-page book, available online at dhs.gov, provides specific information on how churches can work with other faith-based organizations and community partners to create an emergency operations plan.
The resource provides guidance for considering possible threats, developing a course of action to respond to each threat and training personnel and volunteers who are essential to implementing a response.
Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes are possible crisis events. Violent situations, such as an active shooter, also happen in churches.
And Mike Everett, director of security services for Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, notes a situation many churches might not expect — the intrusion of an individual or group who wants to create a scene, such as happened recently when pro-abortion protestors disrupted the services of a Catholic church in Colorado over the leaked Supreme Court opinion pointing to the possible overturn of Roe vs. Wade.
“Your circumstances are going to dictate your tactics [in that situation],” Everett said. “Be careful that a group or individual isn’t trying to create the ‘video moment’ that can be passed around on social media. The reports will be based on your reaction, not their action that led to it.”