No matter what your religion is or what type of facility your congregation attends, all religious institutions have one need in common: security. From direct attacks to nearby incidents that pose a security threat, there are many risks to plan for and protect against. Follow these tips to make your religious center safer and more secure.
1. Create a Dedicated Security Team
Try to find people in your congregation with experience in law enforcement, the military, and security to form a team. Medical professionals, firefighters, and anyone else who has emergency training also make good additions to a church security team. This group will be in charge of following security protocols to keep the congregation safe and take charge if your church, mosque, synagogue or temple is faced with a security threat or any kind of emergency.
2. Do a Threat Assessment
A professional threat assessment, conducted by a security consultant, is the best way to evaluate your religious institution’s vulnerability. A security professional will analyze your existing security measures, consider potential risks, identify weak points, and provide you with recommendations for how to improve your facility’s safety. If you’re just getting started with addressing your religious center’s security concerns, a threat assessment is a good place to begin.
3. Equip and Train Your Security Team
Make sure that everyone on your security team has the equipment they need to successfully carry out their duties. This should include a two-way walkie talkie system so that the team can communicate quickly and without issues in real time. Train everyone on the team regarding your religious institution’s security plan and assign each team member a specific role. Ensure that everyone has basic emergency training as well, such as first-aid and CPR.
4. Keep Medical Supplies on the Premises
Store a well-equipped first-aid kit as well as an automated external defibrillator (AED) where they can easily be accessed in the event of a medical emergency. Assign security team members to be in charge of retrieving these supplies and administering medical care if it is ever required.
5. Consider Hiring Armed Security Guards
It’s understandable for a peaceful place of worship to have mixed feelings about weapons on the premises. However, statistics show that having armed church security is one of the biggest deterrents to violent intruders. Consider hiring uniformed off-duty police officers or licensed armed security guards to protect your synagogue, temple, mosque, or church. If someone on your security team has a concealed carry permit, you could also consider asking them to come armed to services.
6. Develop a Relationship with Local Authorities
Try to schedule a meeting with the heads of the local police and fire departments to discuss your security concerns. Share any past incidents your religious institution has experienced or specific threats that you’re worried about. This is an opportunity to talk openly about safety and security solutions for your religious center and to feel more secure by putting faces to the names of people in your community who will be there to help you in an emergency.
7. Make Plans for Different Types of Security Threats
A security plan that outlines procedures in different scenarios is an essential part of synagogue, temple, mosque, and church security. One of the most obvious scenarios to plan for is a direct attack on your facility by an active shooter, but you must also plan for non-direct threats, including nearby active shooters or civil unrest in your community. Don’t overlook internal threats, such as disputes between congregation members, domestic issues, and mental health issues that could blow up during an assembly.
8. Communicate Emergency Plans to Your Congregation
Make sure that the members of your congregation know that you have plans to keep them safe in an emergency. They don’t need to know every detail of those plans, but they should know things like who to go to when they have a security concern and how to react if there is an incident while they are in attendance. Come up with a communications plan to discuss safety and security. This can include discussing it during assemblies, as well as providing reference material with essential info to congregation members.
9. Install a Security System
Put up security cameras, install an alarm system, and make sure all doors and windows have secure locks. You could also consider installing access control systems to restrict access to certain parts of the facility. These are all parts of a comprehensive physical security system to deter would-be intruders, monitor your grounds, and alert authorities to keep your religious center and worshipers safe.
10. Use Riot Glass to Enhance Physical Security
Last, but not least, on the list of ways to improve synagogue, temple, mosque, or church security is Riot Glass. From security window films and security glass to ballistic-grade ArmorPlast shields, Riot Glass offers a full range of options to secure your facility’s glass doors and windows. Riot Glass products can be retrofitted onto almost any existing glass to protect it from forced entry attempts, vandalism, active shooters, and even natural threats like storms and earthquakes.
If you’re looking for the best way to reinforce vulnerable entry points, Riot Glass is the solution you need. Riot Glass is the first choice of churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques when it comes to physically protecting their members. No matter what level of threat your religious center faces, Riot Glass can secure your windows and doors to keep existing glass in place, delay would-be intruders, and even stop bullets. This provides valuable time for those inside to react, potentially saving lives and preventing injury.
Religious institutions and the people who gather in them face a variety of threats on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are many solutions out there that you can employ to make your church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other place of worship safer and more secure. For more information about how you can physically secure your religious facility or to schedule a threat assessment, contact us today.