In a recent article on the PCUSA website, there was discussion about congregational plans for safe evacuations, “All churches should engage in emergency planning so that when an incident occurs, staff and church leaders follow safe procedures. Potential emergencies can arise from acts of God (hurricanes, snow storms), accidents (electrical fire, flooding), and acts of man (violence, infectious disease). While creating a plan can seem overwhelming, breaking down an emergency plan by potential emergency and discussing possible responses can make the task less onerous.” The leadership of this church is in the process of creating a plan for emergencies.
Last fall, trustees were invited to Kemble United Methodist Church for an Active Shooter workshop led by the Philadelphia Office of the FBI. This spring, trustees attended a class hosted by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office on Church Safety. Finally, in June, we invited the Woodbury Police Department to walk through our building to assist with more safety guidelines. We are currently working on plans for fire emergencies, building evacuation and active shooter emergencies.
The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury will have a fire drill practice on Sunday, September 29 at the end of 9:30 am worship. The basic plan will be to empty the building in a timely manner, and have all people gather in the Centre Street parking lot. Following the evacuation, we will return to the building for fellowship and Sunday School. The Trustees will gather a few folks to de-brief the event and plan for another practice, most likely in December.
Our hope is that we will have everyone trained and feeling comfortable to evacuate the building, if there were to be an emergency. If you have questions about our plans and process, please see me, Joe Federici or Larry Geiger. Again, thanks for your understanding and patience as we work out a plan to keep everyone safe who enters our building.