Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's blog. See the original post here.
“What can I do to protect my house of worship against the next emergencies or disasters?”
It’s a question that I’ve heard far too often and with increasing concern lately. Fortunately, over the past several years, faith leaders representing various traditions have been partnering with local first responders and emergency managers to increase the safety of their congregants by developing emergency operations plans.
The DHS Center of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, one of 13 federal centers associated with the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, has partnered with FEMA to launch a new web page support local efforts to protect houses of worship across the country.
The information we provide can help houses of worship prepare for disasters, emergencies, and help communities implement practices that will mitigate any damage that does occur. This includes an active shooter event. There is, of course, no way to guarantee complete safety. But there are ways to decrease risks and increase safety. On this page, we provide access to trainings, information to help build emergency operations plans, and guidance that provides specific and actionable steps you can take today.
This new web page complements the ongoing efforts to encourage faith leaders to use the “Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship”. Available since 2013, this guide is designed to be scalable for use by small to large-sized houses of worship in order to help navigate the planning process for emergencies. The guide is also available on fema.gov.
I encourage you to take advantage of these resources. If you do not find what you are looking for, or if you have questions about the information contained within the various links, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.