Securing the Church

With the rise of gun violence and sexual abuse cases, it is important to know what we do as a church for precautionary measures. While no steps can guarantee the avoidance of such a tragedy, we seek to be diligent to minimize the possibilities.

– Securing the Campus – 

  1. WHO Is Securing the Campus
    1. IRT (Incident Response Team)
      1. Rocky Creek has an Incident Response Team that works to help keep our church family and facility safe during regular services on Sundays and Wednesdays. These individuals have also been given permission to carry firearms on church property following certain guidelines. 
      2. This team works under the guidance of Pastor David Williams.
      3. IRT covers the entry points into the church.
      4. How do they communicate during an emergency?
        1. Earpieces and radios allow them to keep in contact and notify each other of updates or issues that may arise in their zones. This allows them to make the necessary precautions and calls if they need to assist in an emergency situation.
  1. HOW We Are Securing the Campus
    1. IRT Team Training Quarterly
      1. They meet quarterly for training to review some kind of skill enhancement, awareness regarding personal defense, or medical trauma care.
    2. Background checks
      1. Each volunteer who desires to help on the IRT, Finance team, Deacons, Greeter Team, Children, etc. must submit to a background check.
      2. If a background check comes back flagged with an alert the Lead Pastor and Personnel Team are notified to review the flags and delegate where that person is suitable to volunteer. 
    3. Door Locks
      1. The church doors operate on a locking schedule. Depending on the event and time of day doors will be unlocked at a certain time and then locked again to ensure the safety of those inside the church. 
        1. Ex. Wednesday Night the Welcome Center Doors unlock at 6:00 pm, and will lock again at 6:45 pm while gatherings are scheduled.
      2. The church office doors are always locked and can only be accessed via an assigned key fob or by the receptionists buzzing you inside.
      3. Please help us keep the facility secure by not propping any exterior doors open.
    4. Limiting Concealed Weapons on Church Campus
      1. The church’s policy is that the only other people allowed to carry weapons on campus are the IRT, Rocky Creek staff (with a CWP), and law enforcement. No one else should be carrying a gun on our campus.
      2. In the state of SC regarding a CPW permit, it states that: “A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon into a: …church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body.” (Title 23 – Law Enforcement and Public Safety, CHAPTER 31, Firearms, Article 4, SECTION 23-31-215, (M) (8))
    5. Overhead Alarms:
      1. Lock Down
        1. The church has the capability with the push of a button to automatically lock all electronic doors to prevent anyone from coming into the church if there is a burglary, escaped convict on the loose, or shooting nearby. 
      2. Fire Alarm
        1. There are fire alarms located at all exits of the church, sprinklers are located in strategic areas, and we have smoke detectors throughout the building.
        2. When this alarm is pulled Fire Rescue is dispatched and cannot be turned off until they arrive. 
      3. Weather Alert
        1. When inclement weather hits such as a tornado we have an alarm that will announce overhead to seek shelter and move to a secure location within the building.
      4. Active Shooter
        1. If ever we had an active moment of danger, i.e. a shooter active in the church, we have an alarm that will announce overhead notifying everyone of the situation and to take cover. 

– Securing the Children (0-18) – 

  1. WHO Is Securing the Areas 
    1. IRT Team
      1. Rocky Creek’s Incident Response Team (IRT) works diligently to help keep our children & youth safe. 
    2. Teachers
      1. Keeping a watchful eye on students inside the classrooms and outside on the playground.
      2. We utilize open-door or open-window policies in all environments.
      3. We refrain from volunteers working with children in isolation.
  1. HOW We Are Securing the Children 
    1. Volunteer Background Checks
      1. Each volunteer who desires to work with children and youth ages 0-18 must submit to a nationwide background check and provide three references outside of church staff to be contacted.
      2. No one can serve ministries with younger generations without a background check and six months of church membership.
      3. After the completion of a background check, an email is sent out with a training video attached that reviews child safety. We ask that everyone serving children or youth in any capacity take this online course which specifically covers sexual abuse awareness and prevention.
      4. If a background check comes back flagged with an alert the Lead Pastor and Personnel Team are notified to review the flags and delegate where that person is suitable to volunteer. If the flags contain any history of a sexual nature, the volunteer will not be able to work with children and youth ages 18 and under.
    2. Volunteer Training
      1. Scheduled Training: We host a Kickoff Training, as well as a Followup Training when new people begin serving. Once a quarter we will hold a specialty training as well as send out frequent updates and instructions as needed to volunteers.
      2. All volunteers working with children and youth are given a policies and procedures document to read and understand to make sure they know their role and responsibilities over the children when it comes to day-to-day tasks, active shooter incidents, severe weather protocols, abuse reporting, evacuation procedures, and fire safety.
      3. Teachers and volunteers are made aware of the locations of the AED machines, as well as all medical supplies in the children’s areas in the Policies and Procedure Manual.
      4. Fire Safety Evacuation Plans have been created and put in place should there ever be a fire that requires us to evacuate children and youth (and adults) from their areas. Volunteers (and group leaders) are trained on how to evacuate their rooms, what stairwells to use, and what rally points in the parking lots they need to group together at for a roll to be taken and further instructions. These evacuation maps can be found on each floor near entrances and exits.
        1. Evacuation Plans and class rolls remain with the preschool teachers as they move to different locations (Kid’s Worship, Music, Playground, etc.)
    3. Door Locks
      1. The Children’s area doors operate on a locking schedule. Depending on the event and time of day, doors will be unlocked and then locked again to ensure the safety of those inside the children and youth areas. 
        1. The IRT team will remain in the Preschool area at all times, they will not leave this location even in the event of an active shooter. They will be there to protect and guide teachers and students in what to do during each scenario.
        2. If an active shooter or dangerous situation is taking place on campus the Security Alert alarm will sound. The children and youth areas will remain on lockdown following the emergency procedures outlined in the Children and Youth Ministry Guidelines.
    4. We Are Mandatory Reporters
      1. This means that should anyone on staff hear or view suspicious activity that a child is being abused physically, sexually, neglected, or shows emotional maltreatment, we will not only report the incidents internally but also notify the police and/or DSS. 
      2. Rocky Creek has three forms we use for filing reports.
        1. Accident/Incident Report 
        2. Sensitive Counseling Report 
        3. Suspected Abuse Report

How You Can Help

  1. Be diligent, keep your eyes and ears open for suspicious activity and report anything to the nearest IRT person. Do not take it upon yourself to address or confront a suspicious person.
  2. Be aware of the evacuation routes and rally points for your area.
  3. Do not prop open any exterior doors to the church for any reason.
  4. Make yourself familiar with fire alarm locations.
  5. Apply to join the Incident Response Team.