It’s important for congregations to both have an emergency plan in place that can be activated during a time of crisis and for everyone to be familiar with the plan so that people know what to do in case of an emergency.

May and June are excellent times to do an annual review of emergency procedures in congregations.

To begin, walk around and through the building to ensure that escape routes are clearly marked, exits and stairwells are unobstructed, maps of the facilities and emergency phone numbers are clearly posted, and that staff, greeters, renters, groups, and all members of your congregation are aware of what to do and where to go in case of a fire or other emergencies.

It’s helpful to have a brief announcement in the bulletin each week that indicates basic information needed by everyone in case of emergency or, better yet, create a pew card that explains what to do and features a map of the facility.

Pick a Sunday in the next couple of weeks to explain your emergency procedures during worship and what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, medical emergency or other urgent situation, and then have everyone practice the appropriate responses.

Also, consider planning a workshop on how to use Naloxone kits, defibrillators and EpiPens for congregants, renters, etc. It’s a good idea to post the names and photos of staff members who have CPR training.