Many people think of a house of worship as a safe area. Yet violent acts, fires, tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and arson can affect houses of worship, often with little or no warning. Congregational leaders can take steps to plan for these potential emergencies through the creation of an emergency operations plan (EOP). An up-to-date EOP helps ensure the safety and security of congregants, staff, and facilities. This 32-page guide provides congregational leaders with information regarding emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face. It is organized in four sections: (1) principles of emergency operations planning; (2) a process for developing, implementing, and continually refining an EOP in collaboration with other congregations and community partners; (3) the form and function of a congregation’s EOP; and (4) a closer look at emergency planning in the event of an active shooter situation. The guide is scalable for use by churches of all size and includes examples of good practices and matters to consider for planning and implementation purposes. The authoring Departments encourage houses of worship to work in collaboration with other congregations and community partners to complete the planning process and develop at least a basic EOP.
Reviewed by Sandra Herron