Safety Planning in Congregations


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A webinar on how to keep your congregation safe in face of varied natural and unnatural disasters

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  • Awareness: take into account email, mail and phone threats/disturbing items; notify local police—may know the person; think about having someone monitoring parkingShooting in Knoxville: story about the metal detectors – before or after the greeters tableAdd in the possibility of drifters/homeless connection with community police and having someone sitting in car (joan van b story)
  • Safety Planning in Congregations

    1. 1. MidAmerica Webinar Rev. Dr. Lisa PresleyDistrict Executive, Heartland
    2. 2. Chalice Lighting 
    3. 3. Safety: Why?  People come to us for a variety of reasons Yet underlying it all is an expectation that we will provide communities where their safety is foremost in our mind Safety first. Three areas of focus:  People  Places  Things Two modifiers: Natural and Human Created
    4. 4. Matrix View  For any event, ask what are the impacts on people, places, and things, both initially and as a result Examples:  A storm: A tree falls on the building, creating a hole in the roof, and people rushing to help fall because the floors get slippery, and the leaks destroy the computer system with all the congregation‘s information inside  Medical issue for a member may traumatize members, and there may be no indication of family/friends who have power to act
    5. 5. Best Thing: Be Prepared!  Create policies and procedures that reflect all three levels Share information with renters Resources:  UUA Website, District/Regional Staff  Church Mutual Insurance Company  Local Community Policing Officers  Federal Government:  Local resources in disaster preparedness  Your own insurance company
    6. 6. People: Medical  Train key leaders in first aid annually Obtain AED and train people annually Maintain a full first aid kit, with signs as to location  Include diabetes glucose tablets, etc. Post congregation‗s address in prominent location Have phone available for 911 calls Compile list of medical personnel in congregation Brief leaders on location of first aid materials Maintain Emergency Contact Files
    7. 7. People: Safety Guidelines  Child and vulnerable adults  Policies and procedures for Safe Congregations Sexual offenders  Don‘t presume it doesn‘t happen in your congregation  Policies and procedures: never alone, designated companions  Ask for disclosure—to minister or others  Safeguard member/friend contact information Travel guidelines:  Guidelines for drivers for trips, chaperones, etc.
    8. 8. People: Stranger Danger  Biggest fear, but relatively rare Awareness and preparedness first No one working with children until more than 6 months at congregation Safeguard member/friend contact information Create a response plan Train greeters, ushers, teachers, staff Point people on duty each week Be curious about who come in, but not paranoid
    9. 9. People: Hazard Prevention  Property accessible and safe Prepare for weather: snow, ice, flooding Playground equipment follows safety guidelines Proper lighting for night-time security Buddy system when leaving building after dark System for repairs and maintenance known by all, including renters, to increase safety Maintain sufficient insurance coverage to protect congregation
    10. 10. People: Disaster Response  Evacuation and Sheltering In plans Design evacuation route  Two gathering locations, in case first unsafe  Designate people to help with RE and disabled  Drills at least once a year  Post maps in every room/location Determine sheltering in locations  Safest places in congregation  Drills at least once a year  Post maps in every room/location
    11. 11. Places Building Safety:   Look for obvious nuisances – inside and outside  Pay attention to potential copper theft  Fire alarm and/or phone with address and emergency numbers listed  Sprinkler system in kitchen  Fire extinguishers throughout and annual check  If fireplaces, monitor use  Playground safety and cushioning material  Lighting  Address well posted on outside of building
    12. 12. Places  Evacuation and Sheltering In  Create routes and maps, and post  Evacuation and sheltering in drills at least annually  For sheltering in, obtain supplies and check annually for expiry  Partner with your local disaster recovery agency
    13. 13. Things  Data Safety  Offsite Backups  ―Cloud‖ storage Equipment  Maintain Inventory with full details, offsite Archives  Offsite Backups  ―Cloud‖ storage, not member attics/basements Bottom Line: Redundancy!
    14. 14. Role in Community  One thing to ask: what role do you wish to play Are you a congregation that wants to help members and neighbors:  Do you wish to be a community shelter in emergencies?  Will you train members/neighbors on preparedness?  Can you support workshops on wills and estate matters for families?  Will you keep up your commitments to disaster preparedness?
    15. 15. Final Words  Be Prepared—it can happen here, and does Create and review your policies Back up everything Train your people: first aid, AED, dangers, drills Redundant systems, offsite, automatic – now readily and easily available Take care of yourselves!
    16. 16. Resources  UUA Website ( District/Regional Staff Church Mutual Insurance Company ( isk/page/intro/id/21) Local Community Policing Officers Federal Government: Local resources in disaster preparedness (Google: disaster preparedness churches) Your own insurance company