There's so much violence and turmoil going on in the world today, the church can no longer turn a naive/blind eye to potential scenarios that could happen in their places of worship. I don't believe that people should live in fear and paranoia, but at the same time, a reasonable and rational plan of action should be developed by the leadership team of each congregation.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
You have to be sober-minded about areas in which to spend money on. Is it preferable to spend part of your budget on plastic trees and an outside water fountain, or perhaps measures and technology in insuring the security and safety of your church family?
Security & Technology
Security Cameras - Being able to see a threat before it happens, while it is happening, and/or having video of a suspect can aid in law enforcement doing what they need to do to bring a criminal to justice (like the Charleston S.C. tragedy).
Electronic Door Locks - The ability to lock down certain key areas in conjunction with security cameras is a super important tool in saving people's lives. For example - in case of a violent scenario, the ability to see where the suspect is heading, and then locking the area before they can get there at a press of a button, is a very effective means in keeping people alive. I have even heard of facilities using hallways as a sort of containment area to lock an assailant down in an area where they can't get out until the authorities arrive.
Panic Buttons - Having a panic button that will automatically dial law enforcement in every main part of your church building can be a very important tool in getting help right away.
2-Way Radios - In a crisis situation, the ability to communicate with other key members of your staff or team, can be the difference between life and death. Example: "Hey dude, I saw the gunman heading towards the fellowship hall! Lock it down!"
Guns - I realize that not everyone will agree or feel comfortable with this section, but let's talk about it. There are of course allot of things to think about in this regard:
Tazers and The Like - If some dude comes in acting a fool, light'em up like a Christmas tree.
Safe Rooms - You may have an unused room or large closet (preferably with walls of concrete cinder block or similar) that you can turn into a safe room. This is very preferable in areas where there are children during a service.
Volunteer Training / Congregational Crisis Training - By simply saying something like: "If you hear any loud pops or bangs that sounds like a firecracker while you are teaching Sunday school, close your door, lock it, and call 911." Taking a Sunday night to have law enforcement come and teach your congregation what to do in a crisis situation, should be a given for every congregation.
The Sound Booth - The sound booth is usually in a great position because you are in the very back of the sanctuary (usually). Allot of times, your position may even be elevated. This is an excellent place for a panic button, security personnel, etc.
In closing, I pray that none of the above will ever have to be utilized, but if the unthinkable happens, I also pray that you will be prepared and protected. Much Love Everyone!
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