We’ve discussed the need for safety and security with topics such as types of security needs, deadly force, and emergency response times. We’re now going to focus on incorporating specific safety elements into your church design.
There are many safety components to include in the exterior features of your church building and property, so we will begin with these:
Safety Elements for Parking Areas and Exterior Features of Your Church Building
Key safety church design elements for parking areas and outdoor portions of your church building are good lighting and cameras. Attaching photocells to your exterior lighting gives you the ability to turn lights on and off based on the time of day or current weather. Another option is timers, which can keep lights on until a certain time at night when you know all activities at your church building should be finished. Motion detectors are also an option for exterior lighting. These will trigger lights to come on if somebody drives onto your property, or past a certain area of your building.
Cameras and recording devices are also critical for churches today. It’s a good idea to install them at every building entry point—including emergency exits. Cover other strategic locations as well, including parking lots, playgrounds, and athletic fields. Also, having church security teams be visible and alert during church events will help keep everyone safe.
Integrating Church Safety into Playgrounds and Athletic Fields
Church safety must extend to all areas where people gather on your church property. All playgrounds should have fall-safe surfaces for playground equipment and appropriate fencing for the age level of the children that use each playground.
Athletics area designs should include fencing that prevents younger children from entering the sporting areas and keeps spectators safe from flying balls or bats. We recommend that you include safe storage for sports and ground keeping equipment in your church design to minimize the chances of accidents.
Church Design Factors for the Exterior of Your Church Building
Here at The McKnight Group, we focus a lot of attention on door and window location and design for every church building. Church safety includes ensuring that everyone can exit every building safely, and also making it difficult for unwelcome guests to enter your church building easily. We focus attention on making sure it’s difficult for them to enter your building through ground-floor windows without triggering alarms, and also by using window materials that make entry difficult.
Additionally—and it’s unfortunate—we’re beginning to discuss with some church leaders the elements of embassy design that can make your church building safer. These include vehicle barriers, which don’t allow vehicles to get close enough to your church building to cause any damage in the event of a car bomb or a shooting. There is also something called building hardening, which we will discuss in more detail in our next post.
As you can see, there are many useful ways to integrate church safety into your church design. To learn more about many different aspects of church design, register today for our upcoming free i3 webinars.