Securing Your Facility – Simple Changes That Make a Big Difference
Last week KidCheck children’s check-in hosted the “Improving Safety in Your Children’s Ministry” workshop for local churches in Idaho. One of the workshop goals was to share actionable, specific best practices that can be used to create a safer environment in children’s ministry. Some of the topics included Creating a Security Team, Securing Your Facility, Emergency Situations, Volunteer/Staff Policies and much more.
One of the best things about the workshop was the dialogue exchange between children’s ministry leaders. At the beginning of the week, we shared the discussion regarding the increase of allergies in children’s ministry and what some churches are doing to improve safety around the issue.
For this post, we’re going to share the conversation around “Securing Your Facility.” One leader mentioned his church’s current building was in need of an upgrade and asked how to address some of the safety issues in the children’s ministry area.
Listed below are some simple suggestions, which can make a big difference, regardless if you’re in a big beautiful new facility or one in need of some TLC.
- Use a classroom in highly visible areas and have doors with windows – making sure your children’s ministry is not in some remote part of the building is helpful in reducing possible threats.
Ensuring all classroom doors have windows with unblocked visibility was also suggested. One leader shared, they used a handyman within the church to add inexpensive Plexiglass inserts to each classroom door. In the end, it was more cost effective than replacing each door.
- If classrooms don’t have windows, keep doors open – this goes a long way in increasing visibility to the classroom activities. Where younger kids will be, for safety, use something as simple as a baby/child gate in doors.
- Control access to individual classrooms – by limiting access to the children’s area. Ideally, each room will have only one main entry and exit point making it easier to monitor who’s coming and going.
- Train your team on how to handle a threat that comes into the building while classes are in session – this can be accomplished by soliciting recommendations and advice from your security team, or local fire and police. Next, share the information with your full team and practice regularly on how you would execute on it.
- Always use the rule of 2’s – this means to always have two adults and two children together, whether in the classroom, or for a trip to the restroom. It was suggested to make this a ministry-wide, no-exceptions policy. The rule of 2’s is for the safety of the children and the adults in case questions arise.
- Make sure all volunteers, staff & leadership know where the children’s ministry safety items are located – this includes first-aid kits, radios, flashlights, gas & water shut-off valves, electricity breaker switches, and laminated lists of emergency numbers.
In the end, “Pray for the best and prepare for the worst.” Using common sense goes a long way in reducing threats and making your environment safer for kids and families.
For more information on addressing the security for children in your care visit the Best Practice section on KidCheck or the Safety Beyond Check-in post on the KidCheck blog.