Emergency drills help ensure the safety of our congregations. During a drill, church members practice the best actions to take to be as secure as possible and protect themselves and others when a real emergency occurs. For your congregation to participate in this training with you, essential information should be communicated to prepare church members for involvement before, during, and after the drill.
Before: Let them know ahead of timeBefore the drill, it’s a good idea to inform the congregation when the exercise will take place. You can do this through church announcements, bulletin inserts, newsletters, phone call announcements, or any other avenue you use to share information with members. Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) recommends informing the congregation at least two Sabbaths before and continuing up to when the drill will take place and share what they can expect to occur.
This could include who will be leading out in the drill, what action the congregation is expected to take during the practice run, and the signal that will be given when the exercise is complete. Share any drill resources, such as how-to videos or distribute a printout of evacuation charts and checklists on what to do. Consider partnering with the Children and Youth Ministry teams to prepare children for the drill and share with parents the emergency response plan for their children if an emergency takes place during Sabbath School.
During: What to do and where to goDuring the drill, the congregation will need some direction to complete the training successfully. ARM recommends asking a church leader to communicate from the pulpit what to do and where to go during the drill. The church leader could be the safety officer or a member of the safety committee.
On the day of the drill, before it takes place, announce that the emergency response simulation is just a drill, and the described events are not actually taking place. This will prevent panic and help the congregation focus on practicing what to do when the emergency is really happening. Scripts of what to share with the congregation for each of the Safety Sabbath featured drills can be found in the drill guide for the selected drill at SafetySabbath.com. These guides outline items you need to know and do to conduct the emergency drill.
After: Share resultsPreparing for emergencies is serious business. The reason we practice is to ensure we are ready to prevent loss of life or injury to church members when an emergency happens. Communicate with the congregation that your church is serious about keeping all members safe, and as a team, you partner together to promote safety.
Conducting drills educates church members on how to react safely and proactively to prevent loss and protect others when a real emergency occurs. Effectively communicating when the drill is happening, what to do, and where to go, and sharing how your team performed with the congregation is a crucial part of helping your drill run smoothly and preparing members for real emergencies.
Find resources you need to conduct your safety drill, including scripts for communicating with your congregation, at SafetySabbath.com.