When gun violence occurs in public places, church members may wonder, “What if gun violence were to occur at my place of worship?” Are our churches prepared to deal with this type of crisis?
An article on the website www.churchsafety.com entitled “Protect Your Church from Gun Violence" offers some tips for responding to gun violence in church, should the unthinkable ever happen. These tips would help your congregation be prepared to handle any violent person or incident, not just gun violence. The tips shared in the article include the following suggestions:
Develop a response plan.
The article suggests forming a team to assess your church’s individual needs and any special considerations or risks related to the nature of your facility. Then the team should make a plan about what to do if violence were to occur, and then practice the plan.
Enhance facility security.
The article suggests considering security measures like cameras, door locks and panic buttons to deter violent individuals. “Also consider modifying your building so that it can be locked into safe zones,” suggests the article.
Have an exit strategy.
Once you have a plan in place to respond to a violent incident, communicate the plan to your congregation so that everyone knows how to safely empty the building if violence occurs. “Educating the congregation about your response plan will decrease confusion, and possibly save lives,” states the article.
Does your congregation have an emergency response plan for potentially violent individuals or incidents? If so, please share what you have learned or any resources you relied upon when developing your plan.