Emergency Evacuation Procedure
1) Ordinarily, a drill should take place once a year to familiarize responsible people with their duties and to test for evacuation readiness.
2) A reminder of these procedures should be brought up once a year at a staff meeting and at a full council meeting. A copy of the policy should be supplied to each staff person, elder and deacon.
3) Each fall, the ministry staff will assess the number of children in nursery, Little Lambs and Children’s Worship, review the entire policy, and determine its adequacy.
4) Diagrams showing the floor plans of each floor (which must label exits, fire extinguishers, signal alarms, and telephones) will be placed in all nurseries, Little Lambs and Children’s Worship rooms. Laminated signs will be prepared for each classroom or nursery with the identification of the group (“Little Lambs”, etc) on one side and appropriate evacuation guidelines on the other. The signs will be held up in the designated safe area to help parents readily locate their children.
5) In case of fire, pull one of the fire signals located around the church and then inform the person on the pulpit of the emergency. The sound engineer will call 911. The pastor must be informed and then make a pre-scripted announcement that has been laminated and placed in the pulpit. The text of the announcement reads:
- Please be seated.
- This is an emergency evacuation [State the nature of the actual emergency].
- Elders: Leave now to go to the Children’s Worship rooms and to assist people with special needs.
- Deacons: Leave now to go to the Nursery and the Little Lambs rooms.
- Staff: Leave now for your emergency assignments.
- Staff will instruct you when and where to exit.
- When you are told, leave quickly in a calm and orderly manner.
- Reassemble on the south field.
- Children are being evacuated separately and you can meet them in the safe area in the south field.
- Staff: Dismiss the congregation now.
6) After the announcement, the following must happen quickly, calmly, and efficiently. The objective is to evacuate the church in less than three (3) minutes.
A) The Ministry Staff, Office Staff, and Custodial Staff are responsible for directing a calm, orderly exit of the sanctuary in case of emergency. They should regularly review this policy and be aware of which exit corresponds with their emergency assignment. The Director of Children’s Ministries will remind the Children’s Worship and Little Lambs leaders and nursery attendants of the proper procedures and responsibilities regarding emergency evacuation.
From the rear center aisle the assigned staff will dismiss the back seventeen (17) rows, back to front, via the center aisle out the Alger Street doors, while staff assigned to the rear side aisles will dismiss the balcony out the Alger Street doors. Staff members assigned to the front west will dismiss the front west rows, front to back, via the southwest sanctuary doors and west exterior doors facing the shopping center. The staff person assigned to the front east will exit the front east rows, from front to back, via the south east sanctuary doors and east doors facing Marshall Avenue. The Fellowship Room will exit to the parking lot via the south exterior doors under the portico. Everyone is to proceed to the south end of the parking lot (and overflow into the west parking lot as needed) so as to make room for others exiting and for the emergency workers. After the sanctuary is empty, the head of staff will check the restrooms.
[Actual evacuation routes may change due to the nature of the emergency. If alternations need to be made, the pastor will give appropriate instructions when the emergency announcement is given to the congregation].
B) The deacons are responsible for evacuating the nursery and Little Lambs rooms and will be assisted by those volunteers. The nurseries and the Little Lambs rooms are to exit up the stairs next to the elevator and out the south doors under the portico. All children are to be exited single file or carried, if needed, to the south end of the parking lot (and overflow into the west parking lot as needed) and join their families. The deacons are NOT responsible for releasing children to their parents.
C) The elders are responsible for evacuating the children’s worship rooms (3 rooms at south end of basement) and will be assisted by those volunteers. The Children’s Worship rooms are to exit up the stairs next to the elevator and out the south doors under the portico. Once the Children’s Worship area is evacuated, the elders will assist with the evacuation of the nurseries. After evacuating the children, elders should check the Fellowship Room to make sure no one remains or needs assistance. All children are to be exited single file or carried, if needed, to the south end of the parking lot (and overflow into the west parking lot as needed) and join their families. The elders are NOT responsible for releasing children to their parents.
D) The four greeting elders for the day will be assigned the responsibility of assisting people with special needs and checking the total facility.
E) Teachers, helpers, and nursery volunteers who evacuate the children will be responsible for keeping the class together until they are assembled in the designated safe area. The check-in lists from each class or room should be taken along when evacuating. Parents will not collect the children until the entire class is assembled in the safe area. Teachers will only dismiss children to parents. The children should be marked off the list as they are picked up.
F) The last deacon or elder to leave each area shall turn off the lights and station himself or herself at their stairwell directing parents to the south end of the parking lot (and overflow into the west parking lot as needed). Do not allow anyone to reenter the building until the all clear is given.
7) DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR!
8) If the emergency occurs during church school or adult education, the council members remaining are to evacuate these same areas with the assistance of those leading classes. Alternate exits may be chosen if conditions require. The objective is to get everyone out in less than three minutes.
9) If an emergency occurs at times other than during worship, the adults in charge of a particular group of children will safely escort their group to the south end of the parking lot (and overflow into the west parking lot as needed) and stay with the group until all have been picked up.
Tornado Watch – Any scheduled event should be canceled if there is a tornado watch or warning one hour prior to that event. If a tornado watch is announced just prior to or during any event, the congregation will have the option of staying or going home following an announcement from the pulpit.
Tornado Warning – Should a tornado warning be issued and/or sirens heard, the minister or person in charge should instruct everyone to go to the basement. If it is during a worship service, the same evacuation procedures should be followed as for fire except all would meet in the basement rather than in the parking lot.