I should start out by saying that the information I have been sharing is a quick guide, and should not be considered a comprehensive teaching. For more in-depth understanding, talk with a professional, or contact us and we can help you go through the entire process with a fine tooth comb.
So up till this point, we have discussed creating a plan, creating policies and procedures, equipping the church, training the church, undertaking exercises, and evaluating what you have done. Today, we will discuss improving the plan.
If you undertook exercises right, your evaluation should have found things that need fine tuning. The process of improving the plan is as critical as creating the plan in the first place. When you find gaps in your plan and/or your response, you need to make adjustments to mitigate those gaps so there are none.
Mitigation is the process of reducing the risk that those gaps will show up again in a real incident. The real issue is how to overcome those gaps. This is a task that is best served by a collaborative effort between the Safety and Security Committee and the Safety and Security Team. It is important to note that one person should not come up with the mitigation measures themselves. Why? Because they will look at it one way, while someone else may have a different (better) idea.
Overcoming and mitigating these gaps could require a multitude of different measures, or only one or two new adjustment. No matter how good or bad the exercise turned out, this is where the Safety and Security Committee and the Safety and Security team needs to be critical. They need to ask the tough questions, then come up with viable solutions. Mitigating these gaps can be done in a variety of ways, including:
- Changing the initial plan
- Changing or creating new policies and procedures
- Obtaining new equipment
- Changing or getting new or different training
- Creating a larger safety and security team
- Hiring a consultant
- Hiring individuals to fill some of the gaps (this should be a last resort).
Of course, there could be a multitude of other ways, but these are the most common. After deciding what needs to be done to improve the safety and security of the church, then it should be implemented. This does not mean that the work is done by far.
After the plan and implementing these changes, it is time to start the Preparedness Cycle all over again! How long should the process take? The entire process should take a year, from beginning to end. When should it end? The planning process in continuous and should be done indefinitely. Part of our responsibility to those that trust us with taking care of their spiritual care is to keep them safe from those that choose to harm or destroy us. We should never stop trying to keep Gods flock safe!
For the readers that always read this blog, I will be out of pocket for the next few days. I have six or so (former) students that are graduating with their Master’s in Public Safety from Tennessee Tech University. This is always a proud moment for me. Pastor Thomas Black will be taking over until I get back. May the Lord keep you and your congregation safe and bless you, … Mark (AKA Dr. W.)