Keep your children's ministry—and the rest of the church—safe by creating an emergency preparedness plan.
When it comes to the children you’re trying to reach, security should involve more than background checks on potential volunteers. Having a plan to deal with emergency situations—lockdowns or evacuations—is critical. The best way to prevent a security problem from becoming a nightmare is through adequate preparation. Here are steps you can take to put parents’ minds at ease and be ready.
1. Institute a zone system for your church facility, and have at least one trained security volunteer in each zone. Equip these volunteers with some type of radio communication so they can talk with each other. Also consider having a radio in every classroom.
2. Institute a safety level system: “green”—no unusual circumstances or reasons to be more alert; “yellow”—all zone areas go into an enhanced, active mode of security; “orange”— very serious situations; and “red”—lockdowns or evacuations.
3. Create an evacuation plan for all classrooms and meeting rooms. Include maps and directions for exiting the facility in an emergency. Post these in all locations.
4. Make a plan for a lockdown. In the event you have to institute a lockdown and keep the kids in a classroom, have a way to close all windows and secure all doors.
5. Communicate your safety plan to parents. This can be done with a simple flier or letter, letting them know what to expect and what to do in an emergency.
6. Purchase supplies needed for a major emergency at your church. These should include a bullhorn, emergency first-aid kits, flashlights and two-way radios.
—Sue Kahawaii, ChildrensMinistry.com