Familiar settings make it easy to let down our guard and ignore or miss altogether the warning signs of possible unsafe situations. Parents may not supervise their children in a church setting as closely as they do at the mall or grocery store. Surrounded by church family, parents can be lulled into a false sense of safety.Suddenly a parent realizes their child isn’t nearby! The “alarm” is sounded. Adrenaline begins pumping! Keeping a level head and implementing a pre-planned search protocol when a child is missing maintains calm and can often help locate the missing child quickly.
Here are 10 things to consider when planning a missing child drill at your church.Review your written Emergency Plan. If your church doesn’t have a written plan, now is the time to create one.
- Outline each step of the response you plan to enact once you’ve been notified that a child is missing.
- Design a grid search pattern and review it with the safety committee. Include both the church building and church grounds.
- Discuss plans for the drill with the pastor, church board, and safety committee. The church board should approve the exercise.
- If your church has an active Pathfinder club, you may want to discuss the drill plans with the club leadership. They often receive specialized training on how to address a missing child situation. Use their input as an additional resource.
- Review the membership of your crisis response team and the roles of each.
- Create or update your written plan of what to do if a child is reported missing.
- Create a missing child scenario with your crisis response team to simulate during the drill.
- Plan your drill and designate duties for your emergency response team members to perform during the drill.
- Register for Safety Sabbath to get free resources for holding a missing child, or other safety drill, and more at SafetySabbath.com.
On Safety Sabbath, the 4th Sabbath in March, all Adventist churches are encouraged to hold an annual safety drill. Find FREE drill guides for church leaders and Sabbath School teachers, post-drill evaluation sheets, videos, and activities for children all at SafetySabbath.com. SUBSCRIBE here for additional checklists, reminders, and everything you will need to host your drill delivered straight to your email. If Missing Child is not your church’s focus this year, you can find resources for other trainings such as Fire, Active Shooter, Earthquake, and Tornado all at SafetySabbath.com.
NOTICE: Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) is encouraging churches to delay participating in Safety Sabbath, previously scheduled for March 28, 2020, until further notice.
Given the current climate much of the world is facing in light of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, ARM is reassessing the best timeframe for Safety Sabbath. Sign up to get more information at SafetySabbath.com.