If you’re on staff at a church, it may seem challenging to find a balance between keeping your facility secure while also creating an open, welcoming environment. Rather than viewing security considerations as a list of restrictions, think of them as tools that help you keep your congregation, staff, and visitors safe.
Before joining ACT as a commercial account executive, I spent 14 years as the director of property management for a multi-site church in Middle Tennessee, so I understand the challenges churches face when it comes to safety and security.
When thinking about your church’s security, the goal should be to keep people safe and give them the reassurance that they can attend without distraction or fear.
With this goal in mind, every church should have the following security tools in place:
- A security plan. Understanding of common security practices around things like fire code and access control is critically important for your facility. Make sure your church has the knowledge and plan in place to handle emergencies appropriately.
- A security team. Your church should have a dedicated security team trained to handle a variety of scenarios and equipped to help you implement your security plan. The size of this team will vary based on the size of your church’s property and congregation.
- The right security technology. Security technology such as cameras, access control, and fire and life safety systems should be in place to help meet your church’s unique security needs.
Top Church Security Technology Recommendations
Options abound when it comes to security technology for churches. If you’re not sure where to start, here are the top security technology recommendations that churches should consider:
1. Camera Systems
Camera systems are a great starting point for church security, providing a way to watch over the facility as well as a means of documentation should an incident occur.
The technology for video surveillance systems is constantly evolving. That’s why working with a security partner like ACT can help you choose the right system for your church’s specific needs.
For example, image recognition or people search is a useful tool that allows you to find all video clips of a specific person. A live video feed is also a great resource when needing to find someone quickly, whether it’s a missing child or someone who’s posing a threat to your church’s security.
2. Access Control Systems
Access control is an important part of any church security system. It not only helps you prevent theft and property damage, but also serves as another measure to help you keep people safe.
For example, you want to ensure the children’s ministry area has sufficient access control measures in place to prevent people from getting into the area unless they are supposed to be there.
An access control system can also help you manage staff, volunteer, and contractor access to the building in a more secure way. If people need to access certain areas at restricted times, you could provide mobile credentials or biometric readers that allow them to gain access within specific parameters.
A security partner such as ACT can help you build an access control system that strikes a balance between securing the building and creating a welcoming environment.
3. Fire and Life Safety Systems
Depending on current codes, a church building may be required to have a fire and life safety system, but some older facilities or small churches may not have one. Regardless of your facility’s age or size, it’s important to have both a fire alarm system and a clear plan for how you’ll respond in the event of a fire.
Many churches struggle to keep a clear egress path, which is a main hallway that leads to an exit. This is extremely important in case of an emergency because people need a clear, easy path to exit the building quickly. Seating and information tables can cause fire safety concerns if they’re placed in the way of an egress path.
Additionally, it’s important to keep all fire alarm devices and pull stations clear and unobstructed at all times.
You should also make sure that any fire-rated doors are kept closed, so they can contain smoke and fire in case of an emergency. If your doors need to be propped open regularly, consider using a door hold open device, which will prop the door open but will release and close if the fire alarm activates.
If you haven’t consulted a professional about your facility’s fire safety, consider contacting ACT for your fire alarm design and installation. ACT can also help you with monitoring, servicing, and inspecting your existing fire alarm system.
When Should A Church Re-evaluate Its Security Infrastructure?
Since security technology and protocols constantly evolve, it’s important to have a trusted partner who can help you stay up to date.
If any of the following scenarios apply to your church, you should seek out a security partner such as ACT as soon as possible:
- You aren’t able to secure or control access to children’s ministry areas.
- The building doesn’t have a fire alarm system.
- You’re using an old camera system that hasn’t been upgraded in a few years, or you don’t have cameras at all.
- A new addition has been added to the building since the last time you consulted with a security professional.
Are you looking to upgrade your church’s security system and find a trusted partner to help you maintain it? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about why ACT is the right security partner for Nashville-area churches.