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Man Down!

Knowing What to Do in a Medical Emergency

paramedic trains emergency basics on a puppet

From the Bible

* Medical treatments of the day were used as metaphors for the Lord God's work of spiritual healing:

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound (Isaiah 30:26).

* Two examples of treating ill and injured people:

For Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover” (Isaiah 38:21).

And [the Samaritan] went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him (Luke 10:34)

* These are laments for the lack of (figurative) medical responders or treatments:

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered (Jeremiah 8:22)?

There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines (Jeremiah 30:13).


You're watching an old movie or TV show. A man slumps in his chair. A woman sitting nearby tries to rouse him, but he's unresponsive. She calls out, "Is there a doctor in the house?"

Two men are arguing and tussling in a public place. A police officer arrives just in time to see one stab the other. The officer radios, "Stabbing at 5th and Chestnut. Man down!"

It doesn't matter where you are. A medical emergency can arise. It can be an injury or an illness. It can also be a mass casualty event, whether by an accident, a natural disaster, or violence. A doctor or nurse cannot always be counted on to be there, but someone is needed who knows what to do and is equipped to do it. If you are trained, it could be you.

In the News

Auckland, New Zealand, January 29, 2022 - The youth pastor of a church in Auckland died from injuries incurred in a workplace accident on Saturday. The nature of the accident has not yet been made public[1][2].

* This incident shows that workplace accidents can happen in churches, and persons in the church should know how to respond.

Starkville, Mississippi, September 24, 2021 - A crew was replacing a church roof when a lift tipped over injuring two brothers. One was trapped, and it took dozens of people to get him out.[3]

* Contractors can also be injured. If church staff or volunteers are present, can any of them respond?

New Albany, Mississippi, March 7, 2021 - The pastor of a church sat down after delivering the message, then had a massive heart attack. This was a week after a presentation about heart disease. When he dropped the microphone, church members came up quickly to perform CPR while medics were coming. He died anyway.[4]

* Even with an immediate response, some heart attacks are too much for just CPR. There was no mention of an AED, so we don't know whether that would have made a difference.

Chester, Pennsylvania, December 4, 2021 - A drunk driver rolled into the parking lot of a church, hitting people leaving after the service. Six were injured.[5]

* Injuries can happen outside on church grounds.

Wrentham, Massachusetts, November 24, 2019 - A 75-year-old man collapsed during Mass. A nurse in the pew behind him responded immediately with CPR. She was relieved by responding police, then by medics. He survived.[6]

Columbia, Maryland, 2001 - This March, Sandy Pope, who is now Associate Pastor of Bridgeway Community Church, tells how, eleven years earlier, a co-worker on a previous job suffered a heart attack. In her account she describes the visible symptoms of her fellow employee: profuse sweating, difficulty breathing, clenching chest. 911 was called and medics responded.[7]

* Learn to recognize the signs of medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes, choking, epileptic seizures, heatstroke, etc.

San Jose, California, November 22, 2020 - A homeless man sheltered in the church stabbed five persons, killing two.[8]

* Be ready to treat victims of a mass casualty event.

Videocast Show Notes

Kris covers "Man Down!" (Knowing What to Do in a Medical Emergency), in a podcast and a videocast. In the comment section beneath the videocast is a link to the Show Notes (an article summary). The notes are available for a week after the video's posting.

Injury and Illness Incidents

For some of us, this subject is personal, so let me share.

It was a Sunday morning in the 1970s in my home church in Seattle. The choir was leaving the risers. A choir member tripped and fell, breaking her leg. A city firefighter in the congregation immediately responded.

About a year later, my father was attending a public event when he had a heart attack. Medics were present. They treated him right away, and he lived another 23 years.

First Response

If you experience a life-threatening injury or medical incident, it is a blessing for someone to be there who knows what to do. The news stories show only a few of the kinds of medical emergencies which can happen in a church or at church-related events. They may be inside or outside. They may be during services or during the work week. The patients can be church members, visitors, staff, volunteers, or contractors.

When a medical emergency occurs, it's good to call 911, but how long will it take for help to come? If persons are there who know what to do, they can be the real first responders. Medical emergencies are dozens of times more common than shootings, stabbings, and beatings combined. While it is very good to know how to respond to an active killer, it is essential to know how to respond to a medical emergency. Besides, if an active killer does come, the wounded will need treatment.

What we need are training, equipment, and supplies

Trained to Treat

When we call 911, they send emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics who are specially trained to treat the injured and the critically ill. Their training includes taking vital signs, stopping bleeding, splinting, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), use of automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs), airway intubation, and many other skills.

If you have an EMT, paramedic, physician, nurse, or other licensed health professional on your Church Security Team, good. Still, it is a good idea for all team members to train in CPR, AED, Basic First Aid, and Stop the Bleed. After all, a medical emergency can arise when none of the professionals are present, or there are multiple casualties, or the professional is a victim.

Where can team members get this training? Team members can individually seek training. However, it is good for the entire team (or most of it) to train together. First, more of the team will be trained. Second, since they receive the same training, they will understand each other better in an emergency.

Training is available through the Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Some community colleges may have courses open to the public. Many fire departments train employees of local businesses in First Aid and CPR/AED, and may include organizations such as churches. If the classes are held at the church, church staff, teachers, and activity leaders may be included. Other churches may also be included if there is room and the class size is not too large, a good option for smaller congregations.

For Church Safety Directors, include emergency medical training in the training records of Safety Team members.

Equipped to Treat

Some basic equipment and supplies are needed for an effective medical response. You can get them wherever you choose. Sheepdog Church Security is linked to two sources: "Recommended Equipment for Safety Ministries" on Amazon[9] and Mountain Man Medical.[10] We'll list these items to give an idea of what is generally needed for medical response.

Recommended Equipment

Six of the items listed on "Recommended Equipment" (Amazon) are for medical response:

Mountain Man Medical

Sheepdog Church Security has worked with Mountain Man Medical in developing two items: the Sheepdog Belt IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) and the Mass Casualty Trauma Kit. The first one can be carried by a Safety Team member so he/she can be ready for any injury/illness emergency. He second one is obviously reserved for when there are several casualties at once, such as with (for example) severe weather, a local disaster, or an active killer.

The Sheepdog Belt IFAK contains:

As one would expect, there is a lot more in the Mass Casualty Trauma Kit:

First Aid cabinets and the First Aid and trauma kits need to be replenished as needed to replace depleted and date-expired items.


When there is a medical emergency, we need to be trained and equipped, ready to respond.

There Is More

April's articles (besides this one) are "2015 Emanuel AME Church Shooting" (Lesson Learned), "Weathering a Whirlwind" (Tornado Safety), and "All Eyes & Ears" (Situational Awareness).

To hear and see more about the subjects of our articles, subscribe to the Sheepdog Church Security Academy channel on YouTube.[11] Also, get your Church Safety Team members trained and certified through the Safety Member Certification Program.[12]


  1. Herald Staff, "Woman dies in workplace accident at West Auckland church," NZ Herald, January 29, 2022 [].
  2. Melanie Earley, "Death of pastor at West Auckland church being investigated by WorkSafe," Stuff (NZ), February 9, 2022 [].
  3. Joey Barnes, "Two brothers injured in roofing construction accident Friday afternoon," WCBI, September 24, 2021 [].
  4. Leonardo Blair, "Pastor who wanted to be raptured or die in church suffers fatal heart attack near pulpit," Christian Post, March 8, 2021 [].
  5. News Staff, "6 Injured After Suspected Drunk Driver Hit People Leaving Church, Police Say," NBC 10 Philadelphia, December 4, 2021 [].
  6. Juli McDonald, "Parishioners Save Man Who Had Heart Attack During Sunday Mass," CBS News Boston, November 25, 2019 [].
  7. Sandy Pope, "Sandy, I'm having a heart attack!" Bridgeway Community Church, March 2022 [].
  8. Julian Glover and Luz Peña, "San Jose pastor 'stunned' after stabbing spree at church sanctuary kills 2, wounds 3," ABC7 News (KGO), November 23, 2020 [].
  9. Kris Moloney, "Sheepdog Church Security: Recommended Equipment for Safety Ministries," Amazon [].
  10. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security affiliate link, Mountain Man Medical [].
  11. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Academy channel, YouTube [].
  12. Kris Moloney, Safety Member Certification, Sheepdog Church Security [].