When thinking about the safety and security of a church building, public gathering areas like worship centers, foyers, or children’s spaces likely come to mind. But there are other areas in your church design that also benefit from thoughtful inclusion in a security plan’s parameters, processes, and procedures. Here are some important but less top-of-mind, less public areas that still need to be considered in a complete church building safety plan.
Security Considerations for Your Church Office Area
Every church building is unique, and not all church properties will have a dedicated church office suite or floor. However, regardless of size or location, it’s important to give church offices some attention in your security plan. One idea is to consider access controls and private exits for a church office area.
It is sometime beneficial if church leaders can choose to exit the building without having to go through a public space. Both private and public entrances to this area should have controls to prevent unauthorized entry and track entrances and exits at all times. As added protection, we have even heard of some megachurches that rotate office locations for their executive staff on a quarterly basis. This means that church leaders aren’t always in the same location, in case of a security event.
Focusing on Secure Room Placement in Your Church Design
In larger church buildings, we’re including financial offices, counting rooms, safe rooms, and/or secure file and server rooms in some church designs. These less-visible rooms benefit from not being near public spaces. Their location and access control features need to be programmed into the overall security system for your church building.
Including a safe room in your church design means that it can also possibly serve as a storm shelter in case of a natural disaster. If this is part of your church’s needs, we suggest including dedicated power and ventilation to that area of your church building.
Thinking about Medical Suite Location in Your Church Building
One other area that doesn’t tend to get public attention is a medical room or suite. Including one in your church design involves some considerations. It should be immediately adjacent, or even in direct line of sight, to an entrance that can accommodate an ambulance. Both that entrance and the medical suite should be wired for cameras for monitoring and recording. There should be storage for safety and security equipment, including medical devices like AEDs. You will need to decide whether a nearby public restroom can handle medical needs, or if you want to include a dedicated medical restroom in the medical suite of your church design.
The creation of a comprehensive church design needs to include all areas of a church building, even those that aren’t top-of-mind for the typical guest or attendee. This is part of the reason that we regularly share updated church building and design information in our free i3 webinars. If you’re up to date on the latest security protocols, you’re more likely to be able to focus on your church vision for ministry in your community. So, sign up today for our upcoming free i3 webinars and stay informed.