APOSTOLIC FAITH CHURCH
Emergency Preparedness & Procedures
It is the policy of the Apostolic Faith Church to prepare for emergency situations to the best of our ability in order to protect all individuals who attend or participate in services and events at our locations.
Emergency Procedures - Policy, Purpose, Administration - 7.1
Policy: It is the policy of the Apostolic Faith Church to ensure that staff and volunteers know how to respond appropriately in emergencies.
Purpose: It is our purpose to provide instruction and training materials that will prepare our staff and volunteers in the most effective response to crisis situations.
Administration: The pastor and local safety team are responsible to instruct and train workers in how best to respond to the following specific crisis situations (presented in alphabetical order):
Accident - 7.2
When an accident occurs, staff members are instructed to immediately call 911 or other appropriate emergency responder if the injury requires urgent medical attention. They should be prepared to give information concerning location, number of people involved, and the nature of the injury.
If a service is in progress, they are instructed to notify the head usher or Church Emergency Responder (CER). That person will:
After the injured person has been appropriately cared for, the church representative who handles the situation should take the following steps:
Building Evacuation - 7.3
A building evacuation is mandatory whenever a fire alarm sounds, and building occupants should exit immediately. Other situations may also arise which necessitate evacuation of the premises. In such cases, it will be important for all staff and volunteers to take the following steps:
Sunday School Department Leaders, CERs, Ushers, and Activity Leaders
Civil Disturbance - 7.4
At times, churches can be targets for demonstrations or disruptive actions. Social activist organizations or even hate groups occasionally attempt to spread their message by staging events that provoke confrontation and attract media attention. These actions may be orderly and peaceful. However, if a demonstrator or group of individuals comes onto church property for the purpose of intimidating, harassing, or threatening occupants or disrupting proceedings, individuals inside the building should:
Disruptive Person - 7.5
If a person enters the church while a service is in progress and purposefully causes a disturbance, acts irrationally, or threatens physical harm, the following procedure should be followed:
After the situation has been defused, the usher or CER who handled the situation should make a record of the event using the Accident/Incident Report Form, and giving a brief description of what transpired. This record should include the names of any individuals who took part in subduing the disruptive individual. Keep this record in the church files in case there is later legal action.
If threats are made or there is any indicator that the disruptive person intends to return at a later time to retaliate, the church may impose a restraining order prohibiting the individual from coming onto church property or contacting staff or members of the church.
Earthquake - 7.6
If the church is in a designated earthquake zone, particular care should be taken to ensure that all church workers know what to do in event of a quake.
Inside the Church
Those who are inside the church when an earthquake occurs should take the following steps:
Outside the Church
Traveling in a Church Vehicle
Fire - 7.7
Workers who detect a fire should take the following steps:
Workers who are in the building when a fire alarm sounds should take the following steps:
Hurricane/Tornado - 7.8
The official hurricane season in the United States runs from June through November, but historically, the most active storms occur from August through October.
Current storm advisories can be tracked at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. Ministers and church workers in hurricane/tornado zones should be familiar with the National Weather Service terminology regarding storm conditions. Following are the classification and definitions of storm conditions, and the appropriate steps to take in each instance.
Hurricane/Tornado Watch — This type of alert indicates that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 to 48 hours. Preliminary preparations to protect life and property should begin. If a hurricane/tornado watch is announced, church staff members should take the following steps if doing so is necessary and feasible, and can be accomplished safely:
Hurricane/Tornado Warning — This is an alert issued by the National Weather Service after a hurricane or tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by weather watchers or the public. The National Weather Service provides the approximate time of detection, the location of the storm, and the direction of movement. When a hurricane/tornado warning is issued, prompt emergency action should be taken.
Individuals who are in the church when a hurricane/tornado warning is announced should take the following steps:
Lockdown - 7.9
If a violent person is causing or threatening deadly harm in the building, individuals not in the immediate vicinity should flee the building if this can be done safely. If flight is dangerous or impossible, take the following steps:
Medical Emergency - 7.10
When a medical emergency occurs:
If no usher or CER are present, a minister or the activity leader should assume control of the situation and follow the above procedure, while refraining from offering any assistance only trained medical professionals should give.
When the immediate crisis has been dealt with appropriately, the person who took charge at the scene should fill out an Accident/Incident Report form.
Missing Child - 7.11
If a child is missing from the church premises while a service is in progress, notify an usher or CER. If the child is missing from a Sunday school area, notify the Sunday school department leader, who will inform the head usher or CER. That individual will:
If a child is missing from a church-sponsored, offsite activity, the following procedure should be followed:
Power Outage - 7.12
Weather, accidents, and storms can disrupt electrical service to the church. If a power outage occurs during a service, congregation members should be instructed to stay where they are and wait for instructions.
If a power outage occurs when an activity is taking place or you are working in the church building, take the following steps:
Violent Intruder - 7.13
If a violent person enters the church while a service is in progress, the following procedure should be followed.
Individuals in Proximity
Individuals who are caught in proximity to the violent intruder should do one of the following (options are listed in descending order of effectiveness):
Individuals Not in Proximity
Individuals not in the immediate vicinity should be told to flee the building if this can be done safely. If flight is dangerous or impossible, people should be instructed to take the following steps:
Emergency Preparedness - Policy, Purpose, Administration - 6.1
Policy: It is the policy of the Apostolic Faith Church to prepare for emergency situations to the best of our ability in order to protect all individuals who attend or participate in services and events at our locations.
Purpose: It is our purpose to maintain our facilities in a manner that eliminates hazards and reduces risk, and to instruct our workers regarding the best possible response in emergency situations.
Administration: The pastor and his safety appointees are responsible to oversee preparation of the church facility and training of staff and volunteers to respond to the following crisis situations (presented in alphabetical order):
Instructions for Pastor and Safety Team - 6.2
Our church buildings are facilities which are used on a continual basis by large numbers of people, so emergency situations may well occur from time to time.
Each church should have a safety team made up of individuals who will help to implement safety procedures in the local church and ensure that the facilities are maintained in a manner that reduces risks. Pastors may serve on the safety team, although that is not a requirement. If possible, the team should consist of at least three members. Pastors should consider involving the following:
If the pastor does not plan to participate as part of the team, he should appoint a team leader.
In addition, each pastor should identify able-bodied, responsible, and level-headed individuals from the congregation who would be able to take charge of an emergency situation. (These individuals may be part of the safety team or people who have medical or emergency response training, but others may qualify as well.) These people should be appointed and trained to serve as Church Emergency Responders (CERs).
Pastors should be thoroughly familiar with the contents of this Safety and Security Manual, and do their best to ensure that its guidelines are observed. They, along with the safety team members and CERs, should be thoroughly familiar with the responsibilities outlined in the portion of this document titled Emergency Procedures (they are also given in the document Procedure Guidelines for Church Emergency Responders). Pastors, ministers, safety team members, ushers, and CERs should also take the following steps:
Facility and Staff Preparedness - 6.3
Accidents can happen in God’s house just as they do in schools or other public buildings. Each of our Apostolic Faith churches has a unique set of risk factors. Facilities that have been used for a number of years may have older wiring and plumbing, stairways, and equipment which cause an ever-increasing possibility for accident and injury.
To eliminate hazards and be best prepared to deal with accidents, pastors or the local safety team should take the following steps:
The best safety preparation revolves around safety awareness. The more people who become aware and involved in safety measures in the local church, the more effective that church’s safety program will be.
Establishing a safety team and appointing and training CERs are important first steps in preparing the local staff and volunteers for responding effectively to emergency situations. In addition, pastors or their safety team should:
Building Evacuation Preparedness
If the local church is in a hurricane or tornado zone, the following steps should be taken:
Medical Emergency Preparedness
Power Outage Preparedness
Violent Intruder Preparedness
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