To close out the week, I wanted to share some basic policies and procedures to give you an idea of how simple this can be. You can modify these examples to fit your needs, or your can create your own. The policies and procedures that I am sharing with you are from a church that I have worked with, so these are actually policies and protocols that are in place. This first one deals with ushers as a part of the security team.
(Insert Name) Church Active Shooter Protocol for Ushers
These protocols are not intended to be all inclusive, but rather to provide guidance in the event that an active shooter situation occurs at (Insert name) Church. An active shooter is an armed person(s) whose actions are immediately causing death or great bodily injury. In order to reduce death and injury, there are actions that can be taken to reduce the death and/or injury.
- -Identify the general location of the threat and alert others
- -Call 911
- -Evacuate others or advise them to seek shelter in a safe place (based on the situation)
- -Lock the door or blockade with any furniture if possible (Sunday school rooms)
- -Turn lights off when beneficial
- -Lead people to hide between or behind furniture
- -Ask congregation/others not to huddle together
If evacuation is necessary;
- -Ushers and key staff should guide people to exits and assembly point(s)
- -After the threat is contained, assist with headcount
- -Do not let any members leave unless medically required to do so
If there is no time or exit to evacuate people;
- -Physically capable people who typically sit along the aisle should be asked (in advance) to be part of a team to assist should an event ever happen
- -If an usher has face to face (close) contact, go for the weapon (if possible)
- -The closest usher should attempt to tackle the active shooter while others further away should provide cover by throwing books, hymnals, or a Bible
- -If taken down, hold the active shooter until law enforcement arrives
Be mindful that certain members in the congregation have a CCW permit, and may take it upon themselves to take action. Make sure you are not in the line of fire of a potential concealed weapon carrier if they decide to become involved. (Insert name) Church does not advocate carrying a firearm, but recognizes an individuals’ Constitutional right to do so. For that reason, the church does not forbid the carrying of firearms on church premises.
As you can see, it is pretty simple and pretty straightforward. The absolute worst thing to do when writing these policies and procedures is to make them complicated or confusing. This could render the individuals tasked with doing these job somewhat ineffective because they will have too much to remember.
Below is another example of policies and procedures, but this one is for mitigation measures undertaken by the audio technician (in that same church). The audio technician in the church that uses this protocol has the responsibility of watching the motion detectors, security cameras, and the electromagnetic door locks.
“Denial of Active Shooter” Protocol for Audio Technicians
Audio technicians are the first line of defense against active shooters that may want to cause death and destruction at (Insert name) Church. This guidance is provided to assist audio technicians in making decisions that may affect the life and safety of the congregation for active shooters or any other risk that may present itself while congregants are present in the building.
- -Monitor motion detectors for activity
- -Monitor video feed from security cameras for threats
- -Possibly engage electromagnetic door lock at any sign of a threat
- -Warn ushers and all others present about the threat
Visual Signs that May Indicate a Threat:
- -Unknown teenager or adult wearing a backpack
- -Teenager or adult wearing a long coat
- -Presence of a gun
- -Someone carrying unusual objects (propane tanks, gas cans, Molotov cocktail, etc.)
- -An individual you’re unfamiliar with and who appears to be focused on getting in the door
- -Any other suspicious activity
- -Prior to service (or other event) check with ushers to make sure all but front doors are locked.
- -Upon motion detectors alerting, check cameras for activity
- -If a potential threat is seen, activate the electromagnetic front door lock
- -If unsure about a threat, lock the doors and alert ushers who will evaluate the situation
- -If there is no doubt that this is an active shooter, alert everyone by yelling “Gun”-three times.
- -Call 911 and provide as many details as possible. It may be necessary to pass the phone off to another individual if the incident escalates
- -Do not unlock doors unless told to do so by the ushers or police
- -Upon announcement of a potential (but not positive) threat, the ushers will investigate to determine if it is an actual threat. You may be required to temporarily unlock the doors to allow two of the ushers to walk outside and investigate. Under no circumstances should you to allow entry of the suspicious individual(s) until they have been cleared by the ushers.
- -Upon a real threat being identified, ushers and the safety and security team will evacuate or secure all members of the congregation in a safe area. If some ushers are outside, they may engage the shooter; do not open the door if they have engaged them, except to let other ushers out to assist.
- -You will be responsible for viewing the video cameras and identifying the location of the threat to the best of your ability.-Some individuals with CCW’s may engage the shooter. If they do engage the shooter, do as instructed in regards to door locks and identifying the location of the shooter.
As you can see, these are simple, easy to understand, protocols. In both instances, they fit on a single page of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. This is not to say that it always needs to fit on a single page, but the committee needs to make sure that they are not complicated or confusing. I cannot stress this enough! If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Saving Lives and Souls. Until next week, … Mark