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Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2013
38 pages
This guide contains information on how houses of worship can plan for dealing with threats and hazards they may face, including an active shooter incident, fire, and natural disasters.
The four sections of the guide address the principles of emergency operations planning; a process for developing, implementing, and continually refining a house of worship's emergency operation plan (EOP) with community partners; a discussion of the form and function of a house of worship's EOP; and emergency planning in the event of an active-shooter situation. The general EOP model proposed contains five mission areas: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. These mission areas are defined, followed by an outline of planning principles that feature leadership, consideration of all potential threats and hazards, attention to all settings and times for activities of the house of worship, provision for access and functional needs of those using the house of worship, and the use of a collaborative process in EOP planning. The principles are followed by instruction in the six steps of the planning process: form a collaborative planning team; understand the situation (identification of threats and hazards and risk assessment); determine goals and objectives; develop an action plan; prepare, review, and approve the plan; and plan implementation and maintenance. A separate section addresses planning for dealing with an active-shooter incident, which is defined as being "actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area." The topics considered in this section pertain to preparation, prevention, response, and the aftermath. 2 tables and 14 references