Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you implement effective security in your church. Take action and follow these church security tips to ensure your place of worship is safe for everyone.
In any emergency situation, chaos will erupt. Avoid that chaos by determining beforehand who will do what. Assign somebody to call 911, someone to talk to authorities, and someone to calm down and direct any nearby churchgoers. It’s also beneficial to identify who could be helpful in emergency scenarios. Find the doctors, former or current law enforcement, and those with military or security backgrounds. Those people could be the ones saving a life.
Create Door Policies
Have a church member lock side doors once a service begins. All unlocked doors should be monitored by an individual to avoid any unwelcome guests from walking in. Give the door volunteers two-way radios. If information needs to travel quickly around the church, radios will help make that happen. Consider changing the locking system to mobile-based access where only people with the proper credentials can enter once a service begins. An access control system can keep your church welcoming for all but also secure.
Make Exits Known
Many people consider their church to be a safe and comforting place and might not think to look around to find the nearest exits. Pointing out exits at the beginning of a large service during a major holiday or gathering is a smart church security procedure.
Talk About Safety
Scheduling meetings to discuss security measures allows people to voice their own opinions and concerns. Somebody might notice something that should be church safety 101, yet no clear plan or policy exists. Use this discussion time to decide what areas of your church security policy need improvement.
One way to identify trouble spots is to have someone point them out. Police officers, ambulance members, or fire marshals can help you understand the possible risks in your church. They can also offer ideas to solve the issues they see in order to create the safest church environment possible.
Train Your Leaders
In emergency situations, backup never hurt. Take time to train all leaders of the church, no matter how small someone’s role may be, so they can effectively respond to bad situations. In times of stress or worry, people look to those who they have been looking to before—their leaders.
Install Video Surveillance
Even if you don’t think you’ll ever look back on it, it’s good to have security footage. Video cameras should be placed both inside and outside your church. The existence of the cameras discourages crime within the church, and hopefully from outside too. You can integrate your access control system with your cameras so you can view snapshots of unlock events or become alerted if the door is held open.
Test Security Systems
Whether it’s an alarm you install or emergency lights in the case of a power outage, test it. An annual check up on these systems should be sufficient.
Don’t Neglect Anything
There’s a broken window? Don’t wait until a month from now to fix it. Taking care of problems as promptly and professionally as possible should deter criminals. If the upkeep of the church is consistent, there’s an assumption that everything about the church—inside and out—is organized, deliberate, and prepared for any situation. On the other hand, signs of neglect are apparent to all and might be sending the wrong message to the public.
Establish lock-down procedures. Decide the best way to protect your church’s members during a dangerous situation. Children’s areas especially should have a clear plan. Many access control systems have a lock-down feature for emergency situations.
As long as you have a plan and have done everything you can, your church will be as safe as possible. Acting with intent pays off in the long run.
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