Church Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place, and Lock-Down Plan

Christian churches are vulnerable to natural disasters and man-made attacks. All should have an emergency operations plan, evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lock-down procedure. 
Here is a procedure we have created at my church, St. Michael the Archangel in Poplar Springs, MD
We have a large number of children and elderly who would have to be evacuated in an emergency, and after two years of planning and testing, the plan below works for us. Adapt it to your unique church setting.

Church Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place, and Lock-Down Procedure

At St. Michael’s, we take the safety and security of all St. Michael’s parishioners, and especially the children, very seriously.  Central to our Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is this Emergency Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place and Lock-Down Plan and instructions. Please learn and know these instructions as you may need to use them during an emergency.
1.    Say a quick prayer.
2.    Call 911.
3.    Remain calm as others will look to you for strength and guidance.
4.    Notify your Zone Leader and your church leaders with details of the emergency.
5.    Implement proper protocols such as those below.
6.    If following the shelter-in-place protocol, verify everyone has done so.
7.    If following evacuation protocols, continue with the steps below.
8.    Do NOT use elevators.
9.    Have the children sit down and remain silent.
10.  Locate and bring your attendance folder and emergency pack.
11.  Take attendance and verify all your assigned children are accounted for.
12.  Report any injuries to your Zone Leader.
13.  Communicate your accountability status to your Zone Leader.
14.  Be aware of and assist the physically handicapped, elderly, or those with special needs.
15.  Follow the evacuation maps posted in your room or the gathering areas.
16.  To exit, proceed to the nearest safe aisle or hallway and then to the evacuation areas.
17.  While evacuating, inform and evacuate other personnel who may be injured or unaware.
18.  Assemble outside in the predesignated areas (see Zone Maps on the wall).
19.  Once you exit, do NOT go back into the building.
20.  Take attendance again and verify everyone is accounted for.
21.  Communicate your attendance report to the Zone Leader.
22.  Follow all instructions from the fire department, police, and church leaders.
23.  Ensure in the proper reunification of parents and children.
24.  The Incident Leader will account for the status of each zone.
25.  Zone Leaders will update the Incident Leader after exiting the building.
26.  Zone Leaders will update the Incident Leader of the status of all classroom Team Leaders.
27.  Only reenter the building if and when the all-clear is given by the fire department.
Caution: To keep the roads and intersections clear for emergency vehicles, instruct everyone to NOT go to their cars.  Vehicles could cause a delay in those responding to the emergency. 

ERP Team Leaders Check List
  1. Check off each task you complete and return this list to the Zone Leader.
  2. Remain calm, others will look to you for strength and guidance
  3. Bring your attendance folder.
  4. Bring your Emergency Pack.
  5. Ensure the proper protocols for conducting the Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place or Lock-Down are followed.
  6. Ensure all areas of your class/area have been fully evacuated or have Sheltered-in-Place.
  7. Ensure all children are accounted.
  8. Once in the Evacuation or Shelter-in-Place area, have the children sit down, remain silent and take attendance.
  9. Report your status to your Zone Leader, to include injuries and missing persons.
  10. Ensure the proper reunification of children and parents.
  11. Write down the name of each parent and child you reunite and give this list to the Zone Leader.

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