Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) are pillars of strength for communities. Unfortunately, these pillars are subject to emergencies that can impact the FBO’s ability to serve its members and the entire community.
A prepared FBO is better equipped to serve their members and their community.
There are more than 300,000 FBO’s in America. A viable solution must be scaleable for rapid implementation, incorporate best practices and be customizable to meet state and local needs.
GETTING BEFORE “X”
Imagine an emergency, such as an active shooter, as an “X” on a timeline. Everything after “X” is response, everything before “X” represents the opportunity to prepare. Since its evolution from Civil Defense days of World War II, emergency management has focused on preparedness. Preparedness, as outlined by the 2011 Presidential Policy Directive 8, encompasses five core areas:
Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.
Effective emergency preparedness will help FBOs get before “X.”. For instance, focusing solely on continuity of operations, an element of response, might cause an FBO to miss the opportunity to prevent an emergency.
BETTER PLANS IN LESS TIME
Since 2000, SafePlans has pioneered emergency preparedness with an emphasis on those most impacted by an emergency – the business, church or school. Our Emergency Response Information Portal (ERIP) is an all-hazards solution designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology.
We specialize in providing innovative thinking, proven best practices and the latest in technology to help protect good people from bad things.
HIGH TECH TO NO TECH
Our ERIP solution will enable DHS to provide a scalable best practice preparedness resources to all. FBOs via an intuitive cloud platform that is supported by printable plans and a mobile app. Our Plan Development Wizard guides FBO’s through the plan development by integrating training directly into the emergency planning process. Our goal is the completion of customized all-hazards emergency plans in less than two hours.
More than a plan, ERIP facilitates the training of staff via built-in eLearning courses, the completion of safety and security assessments and the sharing of site information, such as floor plans, with local public safety.
ERIP combines the latest in technology to streamline all-hazards preparedness and connect FBOs with DHS and local best practices.
SCENARIO: ACTIVE SHOOTER-TYPE ATTACK
FBO’s are soft-targets. In order to fulfill their mission of service, they must be accessible and this accessibility creates vulnerability. FBO’s need to get before “X” and not just focus on how to respond.
Active shooter prevention must address both insider and outsider threat scenarios. Insider attacks are prevented through threat assessment programs that educate member and employees, via eLearning courses, on warning signs of violence and encouraged reporting. Outsider attacks are prevented through subtle, yet observable, security-measures that were identified in the security assessment.
Options in protecting members encompass some prevention efforts, such as onsite law enforcement, but also include security measures that can help to detect a potential attacker and delay the attacker’s entrance. These measures can be as simple as the proper positioning of greeters, equipping sanctuaries with locking doors, and rapid alerting via the use of handheld radios and a mobile app. A basic FBO security assessment can help the FBO and their local law enforcement make educated protection-related decisions.
By leveraging the early warnings gained from a properly positioned greeter, even if an attack cannot be prevented, a great deal can be done to save lives . Training all staff, volunteers, and members in the DHS Run-Hide-Fight survival options and the Stop the Bleed via eLearning courses can greatly reduce fatalities. A customized emergency plan, accessible via mobile app, will guide leaders and safety teams in response. Plus, the mobile app can facilitate mass notification alerts and even texts to 911.
Training via eLearning, rapid mass notification via the mobile app, and familiarity with the emergency plan will improve FBO response. Access to site mapping (which provides secure access to the layout of the FBO) can help law enforcement and medical services respond more effectively.
Entering into mutual aid agreements with other FBO’s as part of the emergency plan provides the FBO impacted by an active shooter-type attack rapid access to mental health support and an alternate physical location where members can gather, worship, and begin to heal.
CASE STUDY: HURRICANE SANDY
Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, and the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. At least 233 people were killed along the path of the storm in eight countries. Estimates as of 2015 assessed the damage to have been around $75 billion.
While this natural disaster was not preventable, the emergency planning process of conducting an area hazards assessment falls under prevention. An emergency plan will help the FBO understand the need to prepare for this unpreventable emergency.
Options to protect people from hurricanes include evacuating from the storm path, relocating to storm shelters away from flood prone areas, and/or reinforcing windows and doors. These options are addressed in eLearning courses and emergency plans requiring the FBO to identify evacuation and shelter scenarios while assisting its members in similar planning efforts.
Early warning and actions are the key aspects of mitigating the number of deaths, injuries and business impact from a hurricane. Emergency plans and communication resources in the mobile app help the FBO heed early warnings and take immediate actions to protect people and property.
Early warning and familiarity with the emergency plan are key aspects of response. The development of the emergency plan, reinforced by eLearning, help to insure an FBO responds to the best of their ability during the emergency.
Prudent evacuation, 72 hours of food, water and medicine, pre-identifying alternate living space, such as family or friends in the community, help FBO members meet the first and most basic need of recovery if their home or FBO is damaged.
Recovery can begin after the emergency as soon as basic life needs are met (shelter, food, water, etc.). Emergency planning identifies critical business needs and establishes procedures to meet these needs after an emergency. Establishing mutual aid agreements with other local FBOs as part of the emergency plan will in return establish a strong recovery network.
A prepared and connected FBO is better equipped to protect themselves, their families, and to remain a valued member of the community.