Sometimes things come up that we aren’t prepared for, but at Central UMC we have a plan for any kind of situation. Our Emergency Response Team (ERT) “strives to provide a safe and secure place of worship for all Central’s congregants.”
You never know what can happen on a Sunday morning during a service. A natural disaster could happen, such as a severe thunderstorm or an earthquake, causing fear and chaos. A fire could start in the kitchen, working its way into the sanctuary. A suspicious person could walk in with dangerous weapons. It can be an unsafe world and it can find it’s way past our doors. Our ERT is full of willing volunteers to provide leadership, strategy, and organization during an emergency to ease chaos and create calm.
It’s scary to think something terrible could happen at a house of worship, but sometimes being safe is better than being sorry. That’s why we have an ERT, so we can feel secure.
We partner with Lenoir City Police Department who provides us with a uniformed officer. We have ERT members in the parking lots, hallways, and sanctuary to ensure our safety. Our ERT Handbook is full of response strategies from three different manuals, including FEMA’s response guide for non-profit organizations, such as churches.
ERT members are required to be CPR certified. We have several nurses and EMTs on the team as well.
An emergency response team is not like a security office. These members are all volunteers to ensure the safety of this church by following protocols, which include calling emergency numbers, such as the police and fire department, utility boards, ambulance, poison control, and Central staff members. They are trained to follow the guidelines we drafted for different situations in our Emergency Response Guide.