22 Aug Security Considerations for Houses of Worship
While K-12 schools and college campuses generate the majority of crisis scenarios and media coverage, houses of worship represent a departure as highlighted by this emergency operations planning guide from FEMA.
Typically devoid of the same security measures deployed in school campus settings, houses of worship have faced similar instances of active shooter situations. As a result, developing security and response protocols for these areas – especially large and multi-building worship campuses – has become a point of focus for church leaders. FEMA’s Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship states, “Rapid notification of a threat can save lives by keeping people out of harm’s way.” To combat the unique security challenges faced by large houses of worship, some leaders have turned to the use of Rapid Emergency Response Systems (RERS) to build a security program that best suits their differing needs.
Across the country, schools have taken serious steps to re-evaluate security protocols and systems due to the increase in active shooter situations. In many cases, advanced video surveillance systems, access control procedures and trained security personnel are the steps taken to shore up emergency response protocols. Indeed, these steps are important, but, compared to school campuses, houses of worship face different and unique challenges in developing security measures.