How does your church plant go about creating a church emergency response plan? There are 4 keys to having a solid plan in place.
Gone are the days of burying our heads in the sand. I know this is a potentially touchy subject, but it’s one that every church needs to put at least some thought into. May God spare you from that day, but we live in a broken world and some churches in the US are having to deal with real-life emergencies.
Download a Sample Church Emergency Response Plan
A quick search turned up lots of sample church emergency response plans on the internet. I’m not sure any of them were comprehensive; they each had a little different twist. Download several and mash them up or use the one you like:
- Your church insurance carrier: Brotherhood Mutual, Church Mutual, GuideOne
- Deborah Ike’s Protect the Vision eBook (excellent!)
- Missouri’s Emergency Plan Template for Faith-Based Organizations
- Adventist Risk Management
- or dozens of others available on the interwebs
Don’t start from scratch and reinvent the wheel! The balance you want to strike is including the important stuff without letting it get to be a crazy-long document that people are intimidated to read.
Address Likely Scenarios
There’s no way to plan for every scenario, and there are certain ones that may not apply based on your geography. It wouldn’t make sense to include tornado procedures for my church in this corner of CA.
Your church emergency response plan should address internal and external threats. The sample plans above hit the majors. You’ll probably want to include:
- medical emergency (especially during worship service)
- fire/tornado/earthquake evacuation
- bomb threats
- menacing/disorderly person
- active shooter, hostage situation
Assign the Who
If this isn’t your cup of tea, then delegate it to someone on your team that will put it together. Consider someone who has first-responder experience or a risk management background.
Then be sure that every major step or action identifies who does it. Rather than names, use their position, like Senior Pastor or Children’s Director. Someone’s job is no one’s job.
A great idea I found in one of the sample church emergency response plans was to review it with your local law enforcement & fire department. Hopefully you already connected with them in your community networking; if not, there’s no time like the present. You can even leave them a copy.
Train Staff & Volunteers
Perhaps the most important thing is getting this in the hands of the people that may have to use it. Set up a training and lay it all out. Don’t induce fear; connect its importance to the vision of the church.
You may hate the thought of having to put together a church emergency response plan, but if the day comes that you need it, you’ll be so glad you have one. If you don’t have one in place, start this process right now.