Read Up, Put On

Manuals and Clothing

Security guard on walkie talkie

Gearing Up for Safety

In the Bible

to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it (Joshua 1:8).

… Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth … and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:11, 14-15).


Equipping Both Mind and Body

All jobs have work requirements. We need to know how to do the job. We also need to be properly dressed for the work that is done. Being a part of a Church Safety Ministry is no exception. In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul named several types of gifted persons (including pastors, evangelists, and teachers) who were to "equip the saints for the work of ministry." In his letters, especially 1 Timothy and Titus, he gives requirements for working in ministry. Taking off and putting on clothing is used as an analogy for changing our habits and attitudes.

Equip the Mind

In the King James Version and the Jerusalem Bible, 2 Timothy 2:15 begins with "Study to show yourself approved." There are biblical examples of studying and reading (such as Ezra). More explicitly, there are many commands to read and follow God's instructions, both for how to live and for how to conduct the jobs of priest (religious work) and judge (civic work).

For our jobs, we need to know what to do, how to do it, and what is expected. For instance, if the job entails meeting customers, we need to have a good public persona. If you are operating a drill press, you need to know how to run the machine. You also need to know the specifications of the product you are producing. If you are a contractor, you must honor the wishes of your client/customer.

Some general and specific requirements are listed when advertising a position, and others may be covered in an interview. More often than not, there is more. The company has written guidelines, manuals, procedures, specifications, etc. Some study related to job skills and regulations may also be needed to remain qualified for the work we are doing.

There may be legal requirements for our work. For instance, when working in the construction industries, we have to follow state and local building codes, which means we should know them, and have the codes available for reference.

Most of this applies to joining and serving in a Church Safety Ministry. The Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy[1] lists and describes the qualifications and requirements for serving on a Church Safety Team. These should be learned and refreshed by every member of the team. However, there is room to learn more. There are books, articles, studies, classes, and other resources out there which Safety Team members and Safety Directors can use to deepen their understanding of church safety and security. This includes two books (so far) written by Sheepdog Church Security founder Kris Moloney. Both are available on the Sheepdog Church Security Store on Amazon[2]: Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors[3] and Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship[4].

Dressed for Safety

Being equipped for a job - any job - includes being dressed for the job. Some jobs require uniforms. Many have dress codes. And for most jobs without uniforms or dress codes, there is clothing which is suitable for the work, while other clothing may be unsuitable. For instance, can you imagine operating heavy excavation equipment while wearing a tuxedo? Probably not. You would expect heavy-duty clothing you're not afraid of getting dirty.

What is appropriate clothing for a Church Safety Team? Considering that our role is defending the church and those who meet there, let's look at Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV) -

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the <u>helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Here's a list of components of the armor: belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, sword. Except for the shield and the sword, these are items which are worn. In today's terms, belt and shoes are the same. The breastplate would be body armor, and the helmet would be headgear (cap, hat, or hood).

So what do we recommend for safety team members? Shoes, belts, safety ID clothing, reflective clothing, warm clothing for cold weather, impact-resistant clothing.

Shoes

Of course we wear shoes while on duty with the Safety Team. But our shoes should meet certain criteria.

Belts

For most of us, belts secure our clothing. When suspenders were widely used, belts would tighten coats, but now suspenders are rarely used and belts hold trousers and skirts in place. However, for a safety team member, there is another kind of belt to consider: the tool belt. It does not have to have the huge pockets and loops as the belt used by a carpenter or electrician. But it can be a place to hold your radio, flashlight, pepper spray, tactical knife, or weapon. It can also hold CPR masks and a pouch for exam gloves. The belt needs to be sturdy enough for what you will carry on it.

Safety ID Clothing

Identification is important for a few reasons.

First, it is a way for members and visitors in church or at a church-sponsored event to know you are part of the Safety Team. If you have to step in to help in a situation, the people know who you are. Then too, if someone needs help or directions, they know who to go to. This type of identification may be done with special shirts or jackets that have the Safety Team name and/or emblem on them.

Second, the first level on the Use of Force Continuum is presence. Identifying Safety Team members lets would-be disrupters know that they are being watched.

Then, when law enforcement arrives, they need to know who the Safety Team members are so they are not mistaken for offenders. For instance, police arrived as an usher held the downed Tennessee church shooter at gunpoint[5]. The police almost mistook him for the attacker, but his father told them the shooter was on the floor.

There is a way to avoid mistaken identity when law enforcement arrives in response to a violent disruption. It is the DSM Security Banner (DSM stands for "Don't Shoot Me")[6]. Folded up in a 3½" pouch, it can be unfurled and draped diagonally across the back and the chest with SECURITY on it, front and back, in bold letters. Those on a medical response team can get banners saying, MEDICAL.

Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing with safety colors (which are immediately visible in daylight) is commonly worn by persons working on or alongside streets and roads, as well as by many bicyclists and joggers. This is recommended for Safety Team members working the parking lot, whether they are directing traffic, rendering assistance, cleaning walkways, or other duties which take them outside. The safety colors are easily spotted during the day, and a special material reflects headlights at night.

Warm Clothing

This is a given in areas with cold weather, especially in the north. Those in the South should at least have warm outerwear on hand, since cold weather can head South, as it did this past Winter. Even if you are stationed inside while on Safety Team duty, you may be where cold comes in through the door, or you may have to go outside. If it is very cold, hoods or caps are recommended.

Impact-Resistant Clothing.

Clothing which is impact-resistant and projectile resistant is optional. Police officers and licensed security guards are more likely to have them. The best known are Kevlar vests. Collectively they are called "body armor." Some people find them too heavy or confining, but current models are easier to wear than the bulky "bullet-proof vest" of generations ago. The reason they are optional is that firearm and knife attacks are not as common as other disruptive situations. In most cases, responding team members will defend from cover. If you already have impact-resistant clothing, are comfortable wearing it, and it is not a distraction, go ahead.

There Is More

Other articles in this series are "In Your Hand" (tools for Safety Teams), " Get the Message" (communication equipment), "Defensive Gear" (lethal and less-than-lethal weapons), and "Trained and Certified" (getting trained, qualified, and certified in use of safety and security equipment in light of laws and regulations as well as liability).

References

  1. Sheepdog Church Security, TrainingCourses, "Church Safety/Security Volunteer Team Academy" - IndividualTraining [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy]; TrainingMaterials [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy-training-bundle].
  2. Sheepdog Church Security Store [https://www.amazon.com/shop/instructor_moloney].
  3. Moloney, K., "Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors", © 2017, Sheepdog Church Security Store [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1981674772/?ref=exp_instructor_moloney_lv_dp_vv_d].
  4. Moloney, K., "Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship", © 2018, Sheepdog Church Security Store [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791373488/?cv_ct_id=amzn1.idea.1ERD68BB0JGWR&cv_ct_pg=storefront&cv_ct_wn=aip-storefront&ref=exp_cov_instructor_moloney_dp_vv_d].
  5. Wikipeda, "Burnette Chapel shooting," n/d [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnette_Chapel_shooting].
  6. DSM Safety Banner, Security Version, DSM Safety Products [http://www.dsmsafety.com/security.html].