Building Security in Congregations

Before Disaster Strikes: A Webinar on Preparing Your Congregation

Rev. Julie Taylor, a member of the UU Trauma Response Ministry, and Rev. Lisa Presley, MidAmerica Staff person and responder, discuss what a congregation can do to prepare for disasters, whether natural or human-caused. Recorded October 2015.

Watch on YouTube

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

Minimizing Hazards in Your Building

Preventing Violence at Church

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.”