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At-A-Glance Guide For Protecting Faith-Based Venues

Churches play a critical role in creating a secure facility, as their staff and congregant's safety is of utmost importance. These available resources can help houses of worship get there.

With the landscape of security in our society constantly changing, houses of worship more than ever are facing challenges on how to create a safe, yet welcoming environment.

Churches play a critical role in creating a secure facility, as their staff and congregants safety is of utmost importance. Available resources from Home Land Security can help houses of worship get there.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers numerous resources to assist faith-based and community organizations with their efforts to prepare for all types of hazards, whether natural or man-made. Technical assistance is provided through presentations, workshops, training, webinars, tabletop exercises, and training.

In coordination with interagency partners, the DHS Center for Faith & Opportunity Initiatives and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established a website for faith-based organizations that serves as a “one-stop shop” for information on available Federal tools, resources, and assistance: www.fema.gov/faith-resources.

Additionally, DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) offers a wide range of security and resilience tools, training, and resources. Through its Hometown Security initiative, these resources are made available to communities, including faith-based organizations.  Many of these resources were created in collaboration with private sector partners to ensure they are useful and reflect the evolving security landscape. The list of resources below was created to help the private sector with their security planning, and many of these practices can also be used more broadly in local venues visited by large numbers of people, such as faith-based organizations.

As part of the DHS Hometown Security initiative (www.dhs.gov/hometown-security), DHS asks communities to Connect, Plan, Train, and Report. Applying these four steps to prepare for an incident or attack can help businesses and their employees to plan for their role in the safety and security of their businesses and communities.

Planning and Preparing for Active Shooters

DHS established a comprehensive program focused on active shooter preparedness in order to position public and private sector stakeholders to more effectively plan and prepare against this threat. Following the “run, hide, fight” concept, the program delivers online and in-person training.

  • Active Shooter Resources 
    DHS maintains an online repository of active shooter products and resources, including outreach materials to better prepare individuals and organizations against a potential active shooter situation. These products include a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card. Issues covered in the active shooter materials include profile of an active shooter, responding to an active shooter, training for active shooter, creating an emergency action plan, and tips for recognizing signs of workplace violence.  In additional to English, we have some resources available in Spanish, Punjabi, Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese.  www.dhs.gov/activeshooter
  • Active Shooter: What You Can Do
    This online training is an independent study course available through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/IS907.asp
  • Options for Consideration: Active Shooter Preparedness Video 
    This video demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario and shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement arrives. www.dhs.gov/video/options-consideration-active-shooter-training-video
  • Active Shooter Workshops
    Workshop participants gain an understanding of fundamental aspects of how to develop an emergency action plan. The curriculum incorporates interactive breakout sessions, hands-on planning activities, first-hand accounts from active shooter survivors and responders, and planning for individuals with disabilities. To learn about upcoming workshops, please contact ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.
  • Planning and Response to an Active Shooter: An Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Policy and Best Practices Guide
    ISC first released this guide in July 2015 as a resource for government agencies. The ISC subsequently released a public version suitable for private sector use. The Guide draws on the experience of over 50 agencies to provide best practices and guidance on active shooter situations for law enforcement agencies, facility tenants, and the public. Visit www.dhs.gov/publication/isc-planning-and-response-active-shooter-guide to find out more information.

For more information on the Deptartment of Homeland Securities free resources click here

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