Church Security: You Ask, We Answer

// Abby Connolly on Monday December 18, 2017

Although churches are often viewed as safe havens, they can be vulnerable to devastating violent acts, just like other businesses and organizations. Identifying the warning signs of a violent situation, knowing the best practices for protecting your church and getting fellow church members on board with increased safety and security efforts can seem overwhelming.

These topics and more were discussed in a recent webinar held by GuideOne Insurance. As you’ll see below, webinar participants asked thoughtful questions. Brian Gleason, senior risk manager at GuideOne, and Carl Chinn, independent church security consultant, have the answers to these questions.

Q: Throughout the webinar, you mentioned DLR. What does that mean?

A: DLR is an acronym for “Doesn’t Look Right”. This is a description of a person or situation that is out of the ordinary or suspicious.

Q: During incident collection, do you also track whether or not the aggressor had a relationship to the church or a member in the church, or if the aggressor was strictly a stranger?

A: The current statistics show that approximately 22% of aggressors are directly related to the church.

Q: What are the insurance implications of granting permission to carry concealed weapons in the church?

A: Anytime you allow or encourage the use of firearms in your organization you are essentially giving permission for your representative to take a person’s life. This should be done only after a thorough review of the ramifications. More information regarding concealed carry can be found here.

Q: How do we influence others in the congregation to understand the need for a safety ministry? Our congregation doesn’t see the need for an organized ministry and doesn’t want to be involved.

A: We recommend starting with the church’s leadership. Without leadership buy-in, no program will be effective. You can start with a conversation about the shepherd’s duty to care for the flock and the statistics provided in the webinar.

Q: Where do we go for local and regional safety defense and reporting compliances?

A: A good place to start is your local law enforcement agency and district attorney. They can give you a clear picture of the legal landscape in your area.

Q: Define your ideal security team.  In a very small church where a police presence might not be feasible, what would you suggest?

A: A good first step is identifying a couple of people to specifically be eyes and ears. Place one inside and one outside during events and services to be aware of what’s happening on church grounds.

Q: How frequently should training occur?

A: Do some kind of training at least once a month – even if it is 15 minutes before service time. Make it a team practice to read the “Think About It” article once a week at carlchinn.com.

Q: How do you address large bags or boxes?

A: Bags are a regular item at church services (diaper bags, large purses, oxygen bottles). We recommend first establishing a threat intelligence program for your church. If the threat level reaches the highest category (whether a known threat in the area or specific to your church), have a “no-bags allowed” status only for that event.

Q: How many safety personnel do you recommend to be available on a given day, and should they be placed in any particular place?

A: The number and placement of security personnel depends on the size, location and nature of the event, as well as any known threats. If you only have two people, one should be assigned to the outside. Beyond that, positions vary. Ratios are being defined by a study of the Faith Based Security Network, but until the study is complete, the estimate is 1% of the congregation on active duty at any given time for events with over 1,000 attendees, 1-3% for events with 100 - 1,000 attendees and 2-4% (but never less than two individuals) of crowds of 100 or less. Regardless, we are not talking a large amount of people dedicated to just patrol. But all teachers and volunteers should be on alert and know who to call.

Q: How well have you trained your staff on first aid/trauma care? 

A: Training and supplies for the medical portion should be as much, if not more, of a focus than training and equipment for the protection team. Any team will deal with medical emergencies more frequently than violent crime. Recruit people who are already medically certified, and if that is not feasible, send trainable people through your area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.

Miss the webinar? We know life gets busy, so we made sure to record it for you. Along with the webinar recording, you can download valuable resources on church security and violence prevention.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Abby Connolly

Abby Connolly

Abby Connolly is a Marketing Strategy Specialist for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on the design and implementation of the church marketing plan, co-op advertising program, and direct mail campaigns.

When she’s not at work, she enjoys riding her bike on the Des Moines trails, spending time with her fiancé and two dogs, and going to the movies.

Would You Know How to Respond in an Emergency Medical Situation?

// Lindsay Taylor on Thursday September 29, 2016

A child trips as a result of untied shoes and cuts her knee. A college student gets a chemical burn while conducting an experiment in chemistry lab. An elderly man collapses during a church service. If someone you were with experienced any one of these medical situations, would you know how to handle it?

While some situations may be minor and others more serious, they should still be treated with proper techniques and procedures. Knowing what to do – and when – in the event of a medical emergency could prevent further damage or even save someone’s life. If someone around you needs medical attention, it is advised that you follow these techniques and procedures in order to help the individual get the medical attention they need.

Bleeding

  • Apply direct pressure to the wound with gauze or a clean cloth. Hold the dressing down securely.
  • If blood soaks through the material, simply place another layer on top. Do not remove the soaked layer.
  • Elevate the wound above the victim’s heart.
  • Use pressure points to help stop bleeding.
  • If you cannot get the bleeding to stop, call 911.
  • DO NOT apply a tourniquet. Using one may result in the victim losing a limb.

Burns

  • Run cool water over the burn for several minutes. DO NOT use ice to cool the burn, this could result in frostbite.
  • If the burn is severe and is charring or blistering, call 911.
  • Apply a topical burn ointment or spray to the burn to reduce pain. DO NOT apply butter or oil to the burn because the oils will trap the heat and make the burn worse.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to help decrease the pain associated with the burn.

Choking

  • If the victim is coughing and can talk, allow him or her to continue coughing in attempt to get the object out.
  • If the victim cannot get the object out, give him or her five blows with the heel of your hand to the back between the shoulder blades. Then perform the Heimlich maneuver
  • If the victim cannot speak or breathe, call 911 and immediately begin performing the Heimlich maneuver.

Collapse

  • Grab the victim’s shoulders and shake the person to see if you can wake him or her.
  • If the victim does not wake from shaking, call 911 and begin to perform CPR if he or she is not breathing.

Fractures

  • Assess the situation so you don’t get injured the same way the victim did.
  • If the affected limb is cold or blue, call 911 immediately.
  • DO NOT straighten the limb; keep it in the position it was found in.
  • Stabilize the limb with padding to keep it immobile.
  • Put ice on the injury, but use a cloth to separate the ice from the bare skin.
  • Elevate the limb above the heart if possible to reduce swelling.
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may also be used to reduce swelling and help with pain relief.
  • If 911 was not called originally, take the individual to a doctor or hospital to seek further necessary medical attention to treat the injury.

Sprains

  • Assess the situation so you don’t get injured the same way the victim did.
  • Use the RICE method to treat the injury:
                 Rest. Use a cane or crutch to keep pressure off of the joint.
                 Ice. Place ice on the sprain to reduce swelling.
                 Compress. Use an elastic bandage to secure the sprain.
                 Elevate. Raise the sprain above the heart as much as possible.

As a leader of your organization, it is important that all of your employees and volunteers are properly trained on basic first-aid techniques and procedures. Numerous CPR and first-aid training courses are available to train your employees on what to do in the event of an emergency medical situation. Additionally, make sure you have a properly stocked first-aid kit on hand at all times.

Sources: Mayo Clinic | VeryWell | Grainger

 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

First-Aid Kit Must-Haves

// Katie Rynard on Thursday September 1, 2016

When a child in your care trips on the playground and scrapes his knee, the last thing you want to do is hunt for an elusive bandage. If a church member cuts herself while chopping veggies for a charitable fundraiser dinner, you’ll want gauze, a cleanser and ointment at the ready. And if a bee stings someone, you should ideally be able to locate tweezers and a compress.

That’s why it’s essential to have a complete and accessible first-aid kit. Your organization likely has one – or a few – already, but it’s a good idea to periodically check your kit to make sure it’s fully stocked and that medications have not expired. Here’s what you should have on hand:

  • Two or more pairs of sterile, non-latex gloves
  • Absorbent, sterile dressings, like gauze pads and compresses, to stop bleeding
  • Cleansers: soap, antiseptic wipes or solution, and alcohol wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Burn ointment
  • Petroleum jelly or another lubricant
  • Adhesive bandages in several sizes
  • Elastic bandages
  • Adhesive cloth tape
  • Instant cold compresses
  • Eyewash solution
  • Oral non-mercury/non-glass thermometer
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Aluminum finger splint
  • Breathing barrier for administering CPR
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Turkey baster or another bulb suction device to flush wounds
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid manual
  • List of emergency phone numbers

If you want to cover your bases, assemble a few kits and store them in active areas like the nursery, office and gym. If your organization has a bus or van, put one in there, too. Store supplies in roomy, durable containers, and keep kits out of children’s reach.

You may also consider adding an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to your first-aid supplies. If someone experiences cardiac arrest, this small machine steps up by first determining if an electric shock is necessary, then administering the shock when needed. Learn more about the highlights and important considerations surrounding AEDs here

And lastly, employees and volunteers trained in appropriate first-aid responses and techniques are just as important as the supplies themselves. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on first-aid procedures.

SOURCES: American Red Cross  | U.S. Department of Homeland Security | Mayo Clinic | KidsHealth

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard is a Corporate Communications Specialist at GuideOne Insurance.

When she's not at work, she enjoys decorating, traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with her husband, daughter and dachshund puppy.

Playground Safety 101

// Ellen Wade on Thursday May 21, 2015

Having playground equipment at your facility is a great way for children to get outside, run off some energy, and enjoy playing with other kids.  However, making sure they are safe, while having fun, is of utmost importance.

Unfortunately, a fall from the monkey bars could turn a good a good day at the park into a bad day at the ER very quickly.  According to the CPSC, more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room each year from injuries resulting from playground equipment.  Here are some tips to keep your playground equipment safe for little ones.

Surface – The majority of playground injuries are a result of a fall, making your choice of surface materials in and around the equipment an important decision.  A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause an injury than a fall onto a hard surface.  Because head injuries from a fall can be life threatening, the more shock absorbing a surface can be made, the greater the likelihood of reducing severe injuries.  Some surfaces to avoid include asphalt, concrete, and earth surfaces like soil and grass.  Consider using wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats or synthetic surfacing made of safety-tested rubber.  And, ensure the protective surface extends at least six feet in all directions.

Inspection and Maintenance – It’s no surprise that maintaining equipment plays a big role in keeping it safe for children to play on.  Just like you wouldn’t drive a car that hadn’t been inspected and properly maintained, you shouldn’t let children play on old, rusting playground equipment.  Create a maintenance schedule for the equipment, looking for anything that is not up to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  This includes, but is not limited to, sharp edges, corners, wooden splinters, broken or missing components, rusting, loose parts, large holes, peeling paint and any other hazards.

Supervision – Lastly, a playground cannot be secure without proper supervision.  Without it, even playgrounds that are designed, installed and maintained in accordance with safety guidelines and standards can still impose hazards to children.  Chose the type of playground supervisor that makes the most sense for your organization – paid staff, volunteers, parents – but make sure they have a good understanding of basic playground safety, your equipment, your emergency procedures and First Aid.  A trained playground supervisor can help reduce the number and severity of playground injuries and help keep the children using it safe.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Ellen Wade

Ellen Wade

Ellen Wade is a Marketing Specialist for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on content marketing and social media.

In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, reading and exploring new cities.