Simple Tips for Confronting Gun Violence at ChurchLearn how to protect your congregation from an attack, and how to respond if it happens to you.
Your congregation should feel secure in your house of worship. Learn what you can do to protect your church members in the event of a violent attack. Plus, tips on how to recover in the aftermath of every faith community's worst nightmare.
How To Prepare
- Create a violence response plan. Forming a team that will assess your church's individual situation, determine how to respond, and practice what to do if violence threatens the church.
- Improve building security. Security cameras, door locks, and panic buttons can all be helpful when trying to prevent a violent person coming in contact with the congregation. You might also consider modifying your building so that it can be locked in zones to provide secure havens for the people inside.
- Get experienced advice. Take advantage of those around you who have experience with violent intruders. Talking with emergency managers and police officers may give you some additional ideas for protection. Consulting a school system could also be helpful, since they usually already have emergency plans for strangers and possible threatening people entering the building.
Responding To The Threat
- Consider armed security. Providing armed security at your church could ward off violent persons and provide an effective defense for your congregation.
- Locate your exits. As a security precaution have an evacuation plan. If a violent person entered the church, how would you evacuate the congregation? Educating the congregation about your response plan will decrease confusion in the moment and possibly save lives.
- Prepare for the media. Your leaders should be prepared to respond to the media. A few ways to control your message: maintain an open mind, anticipate the media's questions, and select a central spokesperson.
- Contact your insurer. The first step in any crisis is to report the incident to your insurance agent immediately, no matter the severity of the claim.