As our worship service is a large, public gathering, West End’s church leadership regularly evaluates our emergency response plans and procedures. Our primary goal is to balance having a welcoming atmosphere with creating a safe environment for the adults, students and children who are here on Sunday mornings.
Church staff met with members of law enforcement and independent security consultants and their assessment is that our current procedures are strong and they were encouraged by what we already have in place, including how volunteers are trained, how our building is set up and our commitment to hiring a uniformed police officer for Sunday morning worship. We also identified three areas we plan to improve. We hope and pray we will never be in a situation with an armed shooter, but much like fire and other emergency procedures, we want to be prepared and ready for how to respond.
If you have children in the Nursery, you will notice some work on the entrance in the next few weeks. This is to install security doors so that the Nursery area can be locked down effectively just like our Preschool and Elementary areas downstairs.
plan for evacuation
Best practices have changed over the past year and if a situation with an active shooter were ever to arise, authorities recommend all adults get out of the building, scatter, and meet up at a rally point. We have chosen the White Bridge Auto Wash behind the Shell station at Knob and White Bridge as our rally point. All adults and students in the Hanger will meet there. Based on the layout of our facility, as well as the training of our volunteers, the security experts were impressed with our ability to lock down the children’s ministry areas quickly and comprehensively. We are following their recommendation and plan for children and volunteers in the Nursery, Preschool and Elementary areas to lock-down and shelter in place. Each hall will lock, with classes locked in their individual rooms. Parents will go to the rally point and wait for officials to clear the building.
tighten building access
Starting Nov. 25 we will lock all secondary entrances to the church 15 minutes after the worship service begins, including the discipleship entrance. The main entry near the gym will remain open. This preventative measure will make it much easier for us to secure the building and monitor who has access.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Patrick Kelly (email@example.com).