Over the last 40 years, I have written many of these articles, under a variety of titles, with a long list of topics ranging from the Women’s Encampment at the Seneca Army Depot to asking parishioners for support of renovations projects to introducing new spiritual formation programs and on and on. I can honestly say that 40 years ago I never dreamt that I would have to address safety and emergency procedures, especially as they relate to Active Shooter Situation. Unfortunately, this is reflective of the world, as unsettling as it is these days.
This article has been in the makings for several months and with the help of staff members, parishioners and the Monroe County Sheriff Department. The procedures address situations ranging from fires to Active Shooter Situations. As we complete the procedures, they will be posted in appropriate places around our parish campus. This is a work in progress and we will keep you informed along the way.
Here are some of items for your immediate attention:
Gathering Spot: When an evacuation of any of our buildings (Parish Office, church, Parish Life Center (PLC), Education Center) is necessary because of fire, gas leak or related emergency our common Gathering Spot will be in front of the small garage at the north end of the parking lot. This is to allow us be out of the way of emergency vehicles. In the case of inclement weather, people in the church or PLC should go to the Education Center and people in the Education Center should go to the church.
Locking of doors: Beginning immediately the back door of the PLC will be locked at all times and can be used only as an exit. The conference room doors will be closed at all times and eventually will be locked. All classroom doors in the Education Center will have locks installed and the outside doors will be locked once everyone has arrived.
Shelter in place (usually would take place in the case of an Active Shooter Situation): The basis rule is you should RUN-HIDE-FIGHT! In many case this is not possible so in the Education Center if the program is taking place in the Youth Room, everyone moves to the boiler room if possible. Individuals in Classrooms should stay there and close door. Main Room Upstairs move to classrooms OR evacuate to the back steps inside hall. In all cases stay in the closed room, close the door, turn off lights, blockade the door, move everyone to the least visible corner and when possible cover the windows. In the PLC, these same basic guidelines should be followed. In church, the congregation should run if possible or get on the floor between the pews and the choir should go to the choir room.
Communication plan: We are investigating the Flocknote system, which will give us the ability to communicate with families instantly if we have their cell phone numbers.
Items to be addressed:
- Safety procedures for PLC during evening adult programs.
- Safety procedures for CYO practices and game days.
- Safety procedures for the Parish Office.
As I said at the beginning of this article, this is a work in progress and as we advance along the way, we are looking for additional guidance. At the present time, we are looking for a volunteer to oversee these procedures and policies. If you have a background in security and safety procedures, I would welcome a call or email from you. Thanks
Did you do it yet? Did you return your Catholic Ministries Appeal pledge? We are falling behind, please be generous, thanks! If you lost your pledge card there are plenty in the Gathering Area or you can go to www.dor.org/cma to make a pledge on-line.
On the lighter side and realizing Catholics are not big Bible carriers, I share this one with you! When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache…When you open it, he collapses...When he sees you reading it, he faints...When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees...and when you are about to share this message...He will try and discourage you…I just defeated him!!! Any other takers?
Let us continue to pray and sacrifice for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,