What do we need to start our church security team?
It’s one of the most common questions I get from pastors, church leadership and volunteers. This short article will cover the basics on how to get started and how to use God’s resources effectively. Where are some basic questions you need to answer:
What do you need to protect?
Your biggest asset is your church body. If you decide to use an asset-based approach, you will need to determine when and where your people gather.
What are you protecting your assets against?
Active shooters, accidents, medical emergencies, and criminal activity. All of these incidents fall into specific threat categories (what you are protecting the church against). Take a historical look at what’s happened at your church in the past 3- 5 years to determine which threat categories to be concerned with.
What are you not doing?
If you attend an aging church where the average age of the congregation is 60+, you probably need to know where the AEDs are located, as well as what to do if there’s a medical emergency. Do you have plan for calling 911? Who makes contact with EMS once they arrive? If you don’t have a plan, get one.
What resources are required to do this?
How many volunteers are needed to get the job done every Sunday? What equipment do you need? What training should the volunteers be required to complete? Sit down with other volunteers and talk through this process. You may have internal resources that can assist with the training and with acquiring equipment. Here’s the basics:
- Identification: This is something that let’s everyone know you’re a volunteer. You don’t need uniforms, orange security vests, or badges. A name tag works fine. It’s inexpensive and it clearly identifies you as a volunteer.
- Communication: If you have a team, you need the ability to talk to each other. Radios can get expensive quickly. If you are just starting and don’t have a lot of resources, look for some of the free stuff. If everyone on the team has a cell phone, the VOXER app has a personal plan that’s free. It may not work long term, but it will get you started.
- Earpiece: What respectable security guy or gal doesn’t use an earpiece? All kidding aside, your communication needs to be protected. If cell phones are your primary means of communication, here’s some options:
- CPR and First Aid: Everyone on the team should have the basic skills to start the breathing and stop the bleeding. You don’t need a combat medic or doctor to teach you how to do this. There are probably dozens of certified instructors in or around your area that are willing to certify your team at an affordable rate. You may even have someone in your congregation who is willing to help. Ask.
- Threat Identification and Conflict Management: Your team needs to know what they’re looking for. We are all concerned with active shooters and criminal threats. You should know what to look for before the threat becomes a problem for your church. Michael Mann Security Services specializes in training security teams in prevention techniques, to include early threat identification and assessment. Contact us to learn more.
Meet with church leadership and get approval
Leadership needs to understand your concerns and what your plan of action will be. Let the church leaders know what you want to do and get their approval before implementing anything. This keeps unity in the church and prevents unexpected things from happening.
Answer these questions, meet with your local church leadership, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a good security team!
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