Church Security – Have you thought through what you will do? It is a very natural reaction for people to gravitate to all the “action” and “excitement”, and everyone “wants” to be where all the action is, but what if you are not in the center of it? I can tell you from experience and observations, that there will be many times when you are NOT directly involved in some situation or incident, and you better think about the things you can and ought to be doing to support your colleagues who ARE in contact with the situation or incident.

As a police officer for 20 years, there were many, many times that I was not in the middle of a situation, and as I responded to some hot calls with lights and sirens I had to go through a checklist in my mind and ask myself, “What do I do if I am the first officer on scene”, “What do I do if I am the 2nd officer on scene”, “What do I do if I am the 5th officer on scene”?  And so on and so on, because many times I could be the second officer on scene or even the fifth, and each of those “positions” have their own unique set of actions and procedures.  For example, maybe I just had to block traffic at an intersection.  And sometimes I arrived on scene only to discover that everything is under control and I am not needed in the area, that my staying in the area is just adding to the confusion and congestion.

Church Security – Have you thought through what you will do?  The vast majority of people who volunteer in the safety/security ministry at their churches do not have any background, training or experience in dealing with a stressful situation where there may be injuries.  And if they do not train together to deal with situations and incdents, I can tell you that there will not be the deep confidence in each other critical for team cohesion.  I know from experience and observations, that just because there is a police officer or a paramedic who volunteers on the safety/security team, they will not have that deep down confidence in their fellow volunteers because of that lack of similar level of training.  What if you are dealing with an agitated person, have everything under control, but then one of your colleagues inadvertantly does or says something that sets things off again?  I’ve been in that situation.  You have to trust that your colleagues can handle the situation they are in, and you need to do what you have to do where you are.

For example, I sit at the far side of church, opposite side of where the pastor is, by the wall, at the end of the pew, about 20 feet from an emergency exit to the outside.  I joke with my friends that it is because if anything ever happens, I am out that door!  But actually I sit there, and my wife knows why, for a few reasons.  First, from where I sit and because of the design of the sanctuary, my position gives me a pretty good view of the rest of the church.  Second, I have decided that if anything happens, I will be the one to hold open that door to help people evacuate the building.

More and more churches I talk to are using a “zone defense” now, assigning people to specific areas.  The next time you are on duty, take a look around and think about what and how you will react and respond IN your area for different types of situations.  Maybe the AED is on the wall in your area, you’d be the one to bring it to where it is needed, which would be a good reason for you to leave your area.  Think about how you would help evacuate your area if you had to.  How would you describe your area to dispatch to relay to responding EMS or police, so that they don’t waste time looking for you?

Church Security – Have you thought through what you will do?  Don’t just go stand in your assigned area, waiting to rush off to where the “action” is… It will be very embarrassing and awkward for you if you could have done something in your area that would have been what needed to be done in the first place.

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