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2012 Destiny Christian Center Shooting

Lesson Learned from a church shooting

Policies and Procedures. Successful business, law and profit background

With a Focus on Evacuation Cribs

From the Bible

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire ... (Jude 1:23).

And the Lord said unto Satan, “... Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2).


There’s a fire, and you need to get the infants in the nursery out to safety. Or there’s a tornado warning, and you have to take the tykes to the tornado shelter. Or there’s an active shooter somewhere else in the building and you’re told to evacuate. What these scenarios have in common is the need to move all the children in the nursery at once. If you have more than two infants per worker, this is a problem. That’s what evacuation cribs are for.

On the Web

Fishers, Indiana, 2017 – In its 2017 Emergency Action Plan: Fire/Severe Weather/Lost Child/Lockdown,” the Children’s Ministry of Fishers United Methodist Church states that small children and infants will be put into evacuation cribs to take out of the building during a fire.[3] 

Arlington, Virginia, September 11, 2001 – After the Pentagon was hit by a hijacked airliner, a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel rushed from a meeting to get his two daughters from the Pentagon’s day care center. Arriving at the Pentagon 45 minutes later, he was told that on-site military personnel had already taken the children to a safe area a half-mile away. Infants had been taken in cribs.[4] 

Washington, DC, Last Updated August 25, 2022 – In its “2017 Emergency Action Plan,” the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (part of HHS) describes how evacuation cribs could be used during an earthquake. This would be of interest in Pacific states, including Alaska.[5] 

Washington, DC, after 2010 – The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NCR), in its chapter on “Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health,” gives requirements and specifications for evacuation cribs.[6] 

Bethpage, New York, 2020 - Advanced Egress Solutions discusses evacuation cribs, what is required for one, and how they are used. Among their products is an evacuation chair with pockets for six infants. This can be used for navigating stairs.[7] 

Videocast and Show Notes

Kris discusses this topic in a videocast on the YouTube channel Sheepdog Church Security Academy. Beneath the video screen is a link to the Show Notes (an article summary). The audio is on a Church Security Roll Call podcast.[8][9]

Also on this channel is Kris’s January 10 interview with Terry Berringer, founder of Church Emergency Consulting (it is just before the videocast “Using the Right Level of Force”). The focus of the conversation is evacuation cribs.[2] 

Snatching Infants away from the Fire

Picture yourself in the nursery. The fire alarm sounds. Since no drill is scheduled, you know this is for real. Get the kiddos out. Most of them can’t walk, so they must be carried. You pick up one in each arm, but there are others. You need to take more, but how can you? Even if you and the other attendants can carry all the infants, your arms are full and you can’t open doors on the way, especially if they have to be pulled open.

What you and your helpers need are evacuation cribs. These are sturdier than ordinary cribs used all the time. They also have larger wheels so you can better roll over thresholds and rough places. 

A Crib to Fit the Need

What kind and size of evacuation cribs does your nursery need? 


The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NCR) says an evacuation crib should be able to carry up to five children who can’t walk, meaning all those younger than 18 months, and a few who are older. Therefore, your church needs one crib for every five non-walking children when the nursery is full (such as during a Christmas program). If you can reasonably expect up to 30 babies in the nursery, then you need at least six evacuation cribs. 

From a practical point of view, one fifth of the cribs in the nursery should be evacuation cribs. Mark them with a certain color of reflective tape, such as red or safety orange. You can put white reflective tape on the ordinary cribs so you can find babies with a flashlight if the lights go out. 


Then the NRC says that the cribs must fit through all doors on the evacuation routes.[6] 

In their conversation, both Kris and Terry said they encountered cribs too wide for the nursery door. When Kris first got one for a church, he assembled it, then found that it couldn’t go through the door. Terry found that the evacuation cribs in a church he was consulting were an inch too wide. 

Here is a chart of five evacuation cribs for sale online. When you measure the door openings in the church, account for the part of the open door that may be still in the way. This is a problem when the door is next to a corner. You do not want to take the time to take a door off its hinges so you can get the crib out. 

















Alloy Steel, Metal






Wood, Alloy Steel






Wood, Alloy Steel








As can be seen, the narrowest evacuation crib is 25.75 inches wide, and the widest is two inches wider. Before you look for an evacuation crib, measure the openings of all doors the cribs have to pass through on both primary and alternate evacuation routes. Then look for those that will fit. Obviously, the wider the doors the more choices you have. 

By the way, here are the brands of these cribs:




Lakeshore, Heavy-Duty


Foundations, First Responder 




LA Baby, Compact Non-Folding


LA Baby, The Condo


Evacuation cribs, by law, have to meet certain construction standards. The walls must be fixed – no drop sides. The space between slats can be no wider than 2⅜ inches. There is a minimum depth from the surface of the mattress to the top of the sides. The bottom frame has minimum strength, and there is a minimum diameter for the wheels. The requirement is generally stated by NRC this way:

Cribs intended for evacuation purpose should be of a design and have wheels that are suitable for carrying up to five non-ambulatory children less than two years of age to a designated evacuation area.[6]


As noted already, the wheels on an evacuation crib are larger than those on an ordinary crib. Usually these are made of a hard material. Terry noted that pneumatic wheels would be better for rolling over surfaces with debris. He pointed out how easy it is for a little bit of rubbish to stop a shopping cart with hard wheels, even hard ones. A pneumatic tire will have some give, allowing it to conform to the particle and roll on. 

Two wheels on each evacuation crib should have quick-set/quick-release locks. This keeps the crib from rolling when it should stay in place, but it can be quickly unlocked for moving. Also, move the cribs frequently so the wheels do not freeze up. Clean the wheels regularly so there’s no dirt and debris built up to jam them. Part of this maintenance is keeping the nursery floor clean. 

Alternate Routes

A basic part of fire evacuation planning is alternative routes. We cannot always count on the primary evacuation route being open in a real emergency. What if that route is blocked? Then you need to go out another way. Plan alternative routes, then practice them in drills. 

What if some nursery workers did not participate in a fire drill? Have a laminated book attached to the evacuation crib with both routes diagrammed in it. 

Before ordering evacuation cribs, measure each doorway they will have to go through. Then after the cribs are delivered and assembled, make a test run. Maintain these routes constantly, keeping them clear and ensuring that all doors work as they should. 


Evacuation cribs are what we need to get all babies and non-walking children out in an emergency. 

Training Notes

Emergency drills are essential training activities which include not only the Safety Team and Medical Response Team, but also the entire congregation. These include evacuation from the building (fire drills), evacuate or lock down/shelter-in-place (active shooter drills), and evacuate to shelter (tornado drills). In any of them that require removing occupants from the nursery, use the evacuation cribs. 

Training is essential to preparing the Church Safety Team for the several facets of church safety and security. The Safety Member Certification program has eight training modules. Just the names of these classes gives a glimpse of the breadth of knowledge needed to keep the flock safe: 1. Safety Team Fundamentals, 2. Active Shooter Response, 3. Deescalating Disruptive Persons, 4. Protecting Children from Abuse, 5. Basic Use of Force Laws, 6. Arson and Fire Safety, 7. Storms and Disasters, and 8. Mass Trauma Emergencies. 

Each Safety Team is urged to have all its members trained and certified. Additionally, there are courses or parts of them which are important to other staff and volunteers in the church who are not members of the Safety Ministry, such as #4 for child and youth workers/leaders/teachers, #6 for ushers and greeters, the cash safety section of #1 for office staff, ushers, and church leadership, #7 for ushers, and #8 for ushers, greeters, and medical response volunteers. 

There are three training formats. Team Certification (church-hosted classes), Individual Certification (self-paced online instruction), and Online Events (live Zoom classes). 

We are halfway through Quarter 3 of the 2022-2023 Online Events school year. The next class is Basic Use of Force Laws on February 26. The class related to this article – Arson and Fire Safety – will be held on March 5 and April 30. Anyone enrolling now can continue until all the classes are taken and passed. 

Color coding:

Related to Article








Training Module


Sep 11

Nov 13

Jan 29

Mar 26

Safety Team Fundamentals


Sep 18

Nov 20

Feb 5

Apr 2

Active Shooter Response


Sep 25

Dec 4

Feb 12

Apr 16

Deescalating Disruptive Persons


Oct 2

Dec 11

Feb 19

Apr 23

Protecting Children from Abuse


Oct 9

Dec 18

Feb 26

Apr 30

Basic Use of Force Laws


Oct 16

Jan 8

Mar 5

May 7

Arson and Fire Safety


Oct 23

Jan 15

Mar 12

May 21

Storms and Disasters


Nov 6

Jan 22

Mar 19

Jun 4

Mass Trauma Emergencies

Auditing a class is taking it not for credit as part of a program, but for training in a specific area.

Up Next

The next article is “2012 Victory for the World Church Shooting” (Lesson Learned). 


  1. Kris Moloney, “Arson and Fire Safety,” Safety Member Certification, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 []. 
  2. Kris Moloney and Terry Berringer, “Church Security Roll Call 346: Interview with Terry Berringer,” Sheepdog Church Security Academy, January 10, 2023 []. 
  3. Staff and leadership, “2017 Emergency Action Plan: Fire/Severe Weather/Lost Child/Lockdown,” Fishers United Methodist Church Children’s Ministry, 2017 []. 
  4. Teny Sahakian, “Military family describe 9/11 race to rescue daughters from Pentagon day care – and the effects of that day,” Fox News, September 11, 2021 []. 
  5. Staff, “2017 Emergency Action Plan: Emergency Preparedness Manual for Early Childhood Programs: Earthquake,” Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 2017, Last Updated August 25, 2022 []. 
  6. Staff, “Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health: Space and Equipment in Designated Areas: Sleep and Rest Areas: Cribs,” National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, no date given, but after 2010 []. 
  7. Staff, “What Is an Evacuation Crib?” Advanced Egress Solutions, Copyright 2020 []. 
  8. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Academy, YouTube []. 
  9. Kris Moloney, Church Security Roll Call, SoundCloud [].