FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR JOHN
Over the past two years, the Session has been taking actions to increase the safety of our campus in the unlikely event of an active shooter. While we have never had an incident in over 200 years here as a church, the safety, security and overall preparedness of our members and staff is a top priority of the Session. The Session believes that creating a conscientious plan that is continuously reviewed and updated, and regularly practicing safety procedures, will help prepare our church in case of an emergency.
Liberty members should be aware of the four most important pieces of the Session’s security plan:
1) Doors to the Barn and to the Administration Building are locked on Sunday mornings after worship begins. Volunteer door monitors let in latecomers and are prepared to alert the church of a threatening situation.
2) Door monitors, elders, deacons, staff and Church School teachers all carry alert whistles with them on Sunday mornings. If they see something that is suspicious or threatening, they will blow their whistles. If they hear someone else blow a whistle, they will also blow their whistles. The sound of a whistle means we are in an active shooter situation.
3) If you hear an alert whistle (or you see something suspicious or threatening), please respond immediately with the “Run – Hide – Fight” protocol:
- RUN: Exit the building as quickly as possible and leave Liberty’s property immediately, using 315 or Home Road. Continue until you are in a safe place off church property. Do not use your car. To assist arriving police officers, do not carry your cell phone in your hand.
- HIDE: If you are unable to leave the building safely, find a place to hide. Use everything possible to create a barricade against the entrance to your hiding place.
- FIGHT: If you are not able to exit or hide, use everything possible to resist the shooter – Bibles, benches, cushions, purses, keys, etc. In addition – as it is possible and safe to do so – pull any of the church’s fire alarms and/or call 9-1-1.
4) The Church School has a clearly defined protocol for infants, toddlers, and children in classrooms. Do not attempt to reach your child – the teachers will prevent anyone from trying to reach them.
The Session encourages every Liberty member to be mentally prepared for an active aggressor incident, specifically:
review your normal routine at church on Sunday mornings.
- Where are the closest exits for all the places you occupy?
- Where are the best/closest hiding spaces?
- What barricade materials are close at hand?
(e.g. chairs, tables, boxes, benches, etc.)
- What materials are available to fight against an intruder?
E.g. items you can throw (Bibles, bench cushions, keys); items you can strike with (folding chairs, candle stands, etc.)
Again, we all know this is a highly unlikely scenario, but it is sensible to be prepared. If you have any questions about Liberty’s security protocols, please contact me.
Serving Jesus with you,