Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Preparedness
Fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, arson and active shooters can all affect houses of worship. With incidents occurring with little to no warning, many houses of worship are developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of their congregations, staff, and facilities. Training and planning exercises may enhance the disaster preparedness and response and recovery capabilities and capacity of the voluntary, faith-based, and community partnership organizations, staff and volunteers.
Be Ready, Make a Plan
Faith-Based organizations are communities within themselves. Make sure you and your community members are prepared for any emergency that may take place. Be sure to encourage one another to make a plan for themselves, families and your organization.
More information on Emergency Plans can be found at ready.gov/plan
Attacks in Crowded and Public Spaces
Take steps to prepare and protect yourself and help others in the event of a mass attack. Before an attack occurs:
- Stay alert. Always be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- If you see something, say something to local authorities. That includes suspicious packages, people behaving strangely or someone using strange communications.
- Observe warning signs. Signs might include unusual or violent communications, substance abuse, expressed anger or intent to cause harm. These warning signs may increase over time.
- Have an exit plan. Identify exits and areas to hide wherever you go, including work, school and special events.
- Learn lifesaving skills. Take trainings such as You Are the Help Until Help Arrives and first aid to assist the wounded before help arrives.
Bomb Prevention Planning
Explosive devices can be carried in a vehicle or by a person, delivered in a package or concealed on the roadside. There are steps you can take to prepare.
- Build an Emergency Supply Kit.
- Make an Emergency Plan.
- Learn how to identify suspicious activity and what to do in case of bomb threats.
- Make sure your employers have up-to-date information about any medical needs you may have and how to contact designated beneficiaries or emergency contacts.
- If you see something, say something. By being alert and reporting suspicious activity to your local law enforcement, you can help protect your family, neighbors and community.
- DHS Bomb Threat Checklist (CISA). Whether the bomb threat is made via phone, handwritten note, email, or other means, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Bomb Threat Checklist provides instructions on how to respond to a bomb threat and a comprehensive list of information that will assist law enforcement in a bomb threat investigation.
Resources for Faith-Based Organizations
DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations. This funding is available to promote emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration between public and private community representatives.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
CISA has developed an interactive self-assessment Houses of Worship that FBOs can use to inform grant applications –based on their state guidance. In addition to this self-assessment, CISA provides security experts around the nation. Protective Security Advisors are available to assist with vulnerability assessments and recommendations/guidance for the grant process. The PSAs can be reached via email at email@example.com (the FBO should provide their contact information and where they are located so they can be matched up to the nearest PSA) and their website Protective Security Advisors.
Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship
This guide provides houses of worship with information regarding emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face. It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life and it encourages every house of worship to develop an EOP. Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship
Faith-Based Security Advisory Council Charter
This discretionary committee is established in accordance with and operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Title 5 United States Code, Appendix. Faith-Based Security Advisory Council Charter