Emergency Operations Planning Step 6: Share Your Plan

Once approved, the congregation’s Emergency Operations Plan should be shared with first responders and/or local emergency management officials and should be made readily available to your leadership (hard copy and electronically).The planning process should include preparing and making available to first responders an updated and well documented site assessment as well as any other information that would assist them.

These materials should include:

  • Building schematics
  • Photos of the buildings, both inside and out
  • Information about door and window locations
  • Locks and access controls
  • Information on access to utility controls
  • Location of medical supplies
  • Location of fire extinguishers

Emergency responders should also have advance information on where individuals with disabilities are likely to be sheltering or escaping, generally in physically accessible locations or along accessible routes.

Providing detailed information to first responders allows them to rapidly move through buildings and the grounds during an emergency; to ensure areas are safe; and to tend to those in need. It is critically important to share this information with law enforcement, fire safety, and other first responders before an emergency occurs so that they have immediate access to the information. Law enforcement agencies have secure web sites where these items already are stored for many schools, business, public venues, and other locations. All of these can be provided to first responders and viewed in drills, exercises, and walkthroughs. Every congregation should have more than one individual charged with meeting first responders to provide them with the site assessment, the Emergency Operations Plan, and any other details about facility safety or concerns.

The planning team should maintain a record of the people and organizations that receive a copy of the plan, and this should include renters that may use the building(s). These people should receive any updates and changes to the plans.

A Sanctuary Congregation may elect not to share this building information with local law enforcement. In this case, there should be a designated person who would meet first responders with such information upon arrival. This could be the person who opens the building in the morning or closes it after services or other designated person.