Masterclass: Security

Frequent and Serious Flaws in House of Worship Safety

This masterclass will identify the most frequent, yet serious, flaws in church safety and security planning and provide attendees an opportunity to assess the preparedness of their respective institutions to deal with various threats to safety and security.

Identifying & Assessing All Hazards

In the first portion of the class, the instructors will take an all-hazards approach to HoW safety and security by:

1) identifying various threats (e.g., fire, extreme weather, suspicious packages, disruptive visitors, medical emergencies, and odors/hazardous materials)

2) identifying reasons why planning to meet these threats is often deficient, as well as learning best practices and potential corrective actions

3) providing an assessment instrument to allow attendees to evaluate the relative effectiveness of their current plans, procedures, facility, equipment, and communications. Attendees will then be given an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of their existing plans and capabilities.

Active Shooter Safety

The second half of the class will afford a deep dive into the most dangerous and challenging threat to HoW safety and security: the active shooter. Attendees will learn:

1) the principal reasons why most planning and capabilities to deal with this threat are deficient (e.g., over-reliance on law enforcement, exclusive focus on the response phase of the active shooter event, and failure to consider other phases such as prevention, mitigation, and response)

2) how the failure to identify and prioritize the overall HoW goals for each phase of the crisis can affect the overall safety

3) how the failure to integrate the roles, missions, and responsibilities of all HoW stakeholders can reduce the effectiveness of the team

4) how the lack of a systematic and comprehensive empirical methodology that assesses the ability of a church to meet its security goals, identifies the most critical resources in achieving said goals, and prioritizes corrective actions can be avoided. Steps that will improve preparedness for each phase of the active shooter event will be identified. Attendees will then have an opportunity to assess the readiness of their active shooter response plans.


John Weinstein

Daniel Dusseau