Creating security is an ongoing process. Shocking events reported in the media can cause congregations to take immediate action on emergency and security issues, but emergency planning is a long-term process. Regularly updating plans and policies, as well as keeping the congregation informed and trained, requires consistent attention.
Preparing for Natural Disasters
- FEMA's Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship (PDF) helps congregations plan for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face.
- Hurricane Preparedness tips from the US Department of Homeland Security.
- Webinar: Before Disaster Strikes from the UUA's MidAmerica Region.
Minimizing Hazards in Your Building
- Church Mutual's Self-Inspection Safety Checklist (PDF) and Buildings and Grounds Safety Page can help you keep the people who use your building safe.
- Church Mutual's Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Preventing Violence at Church
Addressing Political Harassment and Threats of Violence
Our 2023 workshop and resource event for congregations, Threats from Without, Care from Within, is available in its entirety on UUInstitute.org. The panel, the workshops, and the handouts and links offer congregations guidance on preventing, preparing for, and responding to the targeting of congregations and their leaders by political extremists.
An Ecology of Community Safety was created by Showing Up For Racial Justice's interfaith initiative (SURJ-Faith) to help congregations of all faiths build collective safety in the context of rising extremism. The toolkit helps congregations create one-, five-, and 10-year plans, breaking down the sometimes overwhelming task of planning for all possibilities. An Ecology of Community Safety is part of the larger Community Safety for All initiative by SURJ-Faith.
Planning for Active Shooter Emergencies
The UUA has a planning guide for active shooter incidents, developed by our Safe Congregations team and incorporating wisdom from a variety of resources.
See sample active shooter emergency resources developed by our congregations.
Additionally, Unitarian Universalist congregations have found the following guides helpful in developing safety plans for active shooter and lockdown situations. Please note that several of these resources originate with various branches of the Federal Government. While we've found all of these resources useful, the UUA does not endorse one particular entity over another.
- FEMA’s Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship (PDF) includes: Preparing for an active shooter incident, planning, sharing information with first responders, exercises, warning Signs, threat assessment teams, responding to an active shooter incident and after an Incident.
- Church Mutual Insurance Company's ALICE Program: ALICE stands for Alert|Lockdown|Inform|Counter|Evacuate. Through preparation and planning, individuals and organizations are empowered to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.
- The Department of Homeland Security's template for congregational planning purposes: Template: Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan (PDF)
- The Anti-Defamation League’s Protecting Your Jewish Institution (PDF) is a comprehensive security guide covering not only active shooter situations, but also violent protests, threats, and surveillance by hostile groups.
- Books from Christianity Today's Church Law and Tax Store include Protecting Your Church from Crime and Violence ($14.95) and Confronting Gun Violence at Church ($17.95) .
- Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency's Active Shooter Recovery Guide “is intended to assist in the proactive implementation of policies and procedures that position organizations to effectively recover from an active shooter incident, providing the best support structure for their employees, contractors, visitors, patrons, family members, and the community at large.”