Church Security - 3 Things to Consider
Church safety and security is a topic that is often overlooked in the world today. Maybe you have thought about it during the Pastor's long sermon but haven't taken action yet. Well, now it's time.
Deadly incidents at churches are on the rise. In 2018 alone, there were 261 incidents.
It is important to take church security seriously and make sure you have a team and/or a plan in place during church services, bible classes, and other events.
This article is an overview of the three things to think about and consider when implementing a security team or security plan for your place of worship.
Table of Contents
- EAP (Emergency Action Plan)
1. EAP (Emergency Action Plan)
Not Just for Active Shooters
The Emergency Action Plan is probably the most essential thing to consider. Churches should create an emergency plan to help them know what to do during any emergencies that may happen. Check out this resource to help you come up with your EAP.
This plan should not just include active shooters, but also what needs to be done in case of fire, storms, or other disasters that could occur at the church building.
One Size DOES NOT Fit All
Note that there is no “one size fits all” approach to the emergency action plan. Think about the specific layout of the building, the organization of service, and the timing of events like bible study.
Take into consideration the people in the congregation as well. If your bible study is downstairs and more than a few elderly members use the elevator to get there, how can you get them out from the basement without that elevator?
Take time to do a risk assessment and think about all of the factors around your church and its members.
After the plan is “complete”, make sure the church members know what the plan is and how they need to respond in the different situations.
Post escape routes in high-traffic areas and have the member version of the action plan available to members.
In addition to posting the plan, take preventive measures such as obtaining cameras for inside and outside the building and making sure doors have locks that function correctly.
Now that you have the plan in place, set specific roles to roll the plan into action.
An example could be to have 2 “greeters” who say good morning to everyone as they come into the church. Then once the service has started, they lock and stand by the doors during the service.
If members are late, then someone is there to let them in. (Assuming there is some sort of peek hole or camera monitor to see who is knocking.)
Once roles are set, get those filled by the right members. You know have your security team.
The team should be trained to handle any kind of emergency and know where all entrances and exits are located.
It might be beneficial to invest in a firearm or disaster course so that everyone is on the same page if things happen during events at the church. Stay consistent with training so everyone stays sharp.
Located in Arizona? Check out our friends at Emergency Response Tactical. They do a phenomenal job with all of their courses and have a vast knowledge base with their many years of experience.
A key part of the team is that members should know who is on the “security team”. If they feel uneasy about someone in church or have some sort of issue, they need to know who they can go to.
Pro Tip: take the time to create a relationship with local law enforcement. It never hurts to have allies.
The last thing to consider when planning the security of your church is to think about gear.
Talk to your security team and figure out what gear is best for you and your situation at church. Do you need communication such as walkie-talkies? Where should the med kit go?
Concealable Body Armor
Along with the basics, we highly recommend looking into concealable body armor.
Order them in packages and save 5%. We recommend stocking enough for your security team to wear on Sundays, or during any other events at your church. Keep them hung up with the choir robes, and you can rotate them when your team members rotate.
More great concealable options are available below. Note that most of these have a rating of level IIIA, which stops handgun rounds.
If you are looking for something that has more stopping power with higher protection levels, it won’t necessarily be as concealable, but check out those options here: Level III Body Armor Packages | Level III+ Body Armor Packages | Level IV Body Armor Packages