Some people attending churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship wonder about their safety – fortunately – the reasons for 98.5% of 911 calls from places of worship are rather boring!
We used 911 call statistics provided by NEMIS.org to understand the common reasons for 911 calls. The top reason was breathing problems at 13% – this includes asthma, allergies, emphysema, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure. The next 43% of calls were for a sick person, fainting, car accident, fall or chest pain. Fewer than 2% of calls were for assault or other violent problems.
While we are happy to reduce concerns about violence in houses of worship – the data do point to the importance of a safety plan for your congregation. It’s quite likely someone in the congregation will have a health problem during a service or program — what happens then?
We recommend your leadership team put together an Emergency Preparedness Plan that covers health issues, bad weather, fire, and building problems like broken pipes or tripping hazards. The State of Illinois has a great Sample Plan you can use to get started.
A good Plan will include:
- specialized training for ushers and others who are likely to first see someone in distress;
- general training for the congregation;
- fire / tornado / evacuation / sheltering drills;
- giving safety coordinators special name tags so they are easy to find if someone has a problem;
- asking members of the congregation with medical training if they are willing to help in case of an emergency;
- putting together a first aid kit;
- meeting with local law enforcement to share information about your service times and building layout;
- following the advice and direction of emergency services personnel if an emergency occurs;
- asking parents to fill out contact forms when leaving children in the nursery.
No matter what happens, you need to get emergency services to your location fast – that’s where Guard Llama’s Safety Kit comes in. The Kit contains a Wall Hub that plugs into any electrical outlet and a Panic Button. When the Panic Button is pressed, we dispatch emergency services to your location immediately.
Equip your greeters and ushers with discreet, silent Panic Buttons that dispatch emergency services to your house of worship – whether it’s a parishioner having a heart attack or an unwelcome intruder – Guard Llama gets help fast!
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