Houses of Worship
Threat Suppression staff have a personal passion for ensuring safety and security at houses of worship. In our work, we have found that most houses of worship are not prepared for safety and security problems. Unfortunately, thousands of critical safety and security events have occurred at houses of worship. These events include active shooter, child abduction, sex crimes, fraud, negligent deaths, and much more.
Many churches are unaware that failing to plan and prepare for recognized security problems can result in severe legal liability for the church. The courts have established that churches are not immune from liability; with multiple judgments against churches exceeding millions of dollars. In addition, church officials have faced criminal charges for failing to take appropriate safety and security measures to protect employees, church members, and visitors.
Many churches have some safety and security policies in place. However, many policies are out-dated, written in generalities that are not relevant to the church, and frequently not followed by staff and volunteers. In many cases, church staff received little to no training on the policies. In addition, very few churches conduct safety training annually. In most cases, the safety training is a one-time orientation that is often quickly forgotten.
"While our church policies looked good on paper, in reality they were not followed. No one had ownership of the policies, and no one ensured the policies were administered properly. In essence, all of our security policies and plans were set up to fail."
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has stated that churches must follow established OSHA regulations. OSHA states that church staff (including volunteers) are accountable to OSHA workplace safety and security laws and regulations. The only exception is church staff that only provide religious service. That means that only those people that provide a specific religious function (organ player, church choir, and so forth) do not have to have minimum OSHA required safety and security training. OSHA has determined that safety and security training must be provided to any church employee or volunteer that provides services that could occur at a for-profit business (child care, directing traffic, usher, and so forth).
SAFE: Sanctuary Actions for Emergency
The SAFE program is a three-hour course designed for church staff and addresses emergencies that can typically occur during Sunday church services. In this presentation, attendees will learn and discuss the meaning of several scriptures that address safety and security in the church. In addition, the presenters will discuss the opinion of many famous theological experts on church safety and security. Attendees will also be taught about the legal liability of not addressing safety and security threats in their church and the consequences for failing to provide adequate security.
This presentation focuses on the most likely emergencies that can occur during typical Sunday service, including an active shooter/active assailant, armed robbery of the tithes and offerings, disruptive attendee, child abduction, lost/missing child, medical emergencies, weather emergencies, bomb threats, fires, and domestic situations. A review of church emergency statistics will be given along with an overview of recent church emergencies in the United States. Church staff will be taught basic response procedures for each of these events.
Last, church members will be taught how to create functional church safety and security plans. Attendees will be taught how divide the safety and security plans into management sections. Attendees will also be taught how to perform a risk assessment on the church and how to prioritize safety and security funding.To download a PDF description of the SAFE course, please click here.
POWER: Place of Worship Emergency Response
The POWER program is a five-hour course designed for church staff and addresses emergencies that can typically occur at churches throughout the week. The POWER program supplements Threat Suppression’s SAFE: Sanctuary Action for Emergencies course. POWER addresses additional concerns that can happen at churches aside from those that can occur at the traditional Sunday morning service. The purpose of this course is to discuss basic and advanced preventative measures to mitigate serious crimes in churches. This course assists churches in planning for potential emergencies and defines specific response procedures for a variety of emergencies.
In this presentation, attendees will discuss the following: safety and security of pastoral staff, developing security teams, security audits, burglary and theft prevention, church infrastructure security, church school safety (including active shooter response), and staff background investigations. Also discussed is the creation of emergency response kits and development of emergency action plans. Attendees will also be provided tips on creating a safety and security ministry within their church. To download a PDF description of the POWER course, please click here.
"Churches need to recognize one of the biggest factors for families when determining a church home. Families, especially those with young children, will not come to a church that is not serious about safety and security."
-Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, 2015 (the largest insurer of Christian churches in the United States)
Threat Suppression staff work to ensure that every house of worship have adequate safety and security measures in place. We believe that every person has the right to worship in safety and security. Without adequate safety and security plans in place, churchgoers are unable to fully enjoy the benefits that houses of worship offer. As part of our commitment to give back to God and our community, we offer steep discounts on all of our house of worship safety and security services.
To download a PDF copy of our most frequently asked church safety and security questions, click here. If you would like more information on the services that we provide for houses of worship, please email info@ThreatSuppression.com or call 1-800-231-9106.