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Faith-Based Community Preparedness

Fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, arson and active shooters can all affect houses of worship. With incidents occurring with little to no warning, many houses of worship are developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of their congregations, staff, and facilities. 

Training and planning exercises may enhance the disaster preparedness – and response and recovery capabilities and capacity – of the voluntary, faith-based, and community partner organizations, staff and volunteers.

Learn more about the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

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Search for disaster declarations and other important news for your state.

Make an Emergency Plan

When houses of worship collaborate in partnership with their local government, first responders, emergency managers and public health officials, they can better plan for potential emergencies by creating an emergency operations plan.

Continue reading for planning resources specific to natural disasters, active shooters, bomb prevention, security and human trafficking.

Natural Disaster Planning Playbooks

Operational plans provide an approach to test and evaluate how to respond to a natural or man-made emergency or disaster.

Active Shooter Preparedness

Comprehensive active shooter preparedness programs position public and private sector stakeholders to more effectively plan and prepare against this threat. Following the “run, hide, fight” concept, the program delivers online and in-person training.

Training

Videos

Tools

  • Fact Sheet: Active Shooter Attacks
  • Free Mobile App: Helps local law enforcement work with leaders of houses of worship to evaluate their facilities, create plans for preventing attacks and prepare for other catastrophic events.

Other Resources

Bomb Prevention Planning

It's important to know what steps everyday citizens can and should take in the event of a bomb threat. The Department of Homeland Security's bomb prevention office has guidance on what to do during a bomb threat and planning for facility owners, operators and managers.

Security Planning

Through the Hometown Security Initiative, DHS asks communities to Connect, Plan, Train, and Report. Applying these four steps to prepare for an incident or attack can help faith and community leaders support the safety and security of the communities they serve.  

Preventing Human Trafficking

The DHS Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate on how to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.

Training and Exercises

No-cost resources provide faith and community leaders and employers information and education on how to prepare for and mitigate against an emergency or disaster, including an active shooter incident.

Exercises

Create an exercise toolkit account in the Preparedness Toolkit portal.  

Join a FEMA virtual table top exercise where faith-based organizations can participate with other organizations in their community. 

Join DHS Emergency Services Sector-Specific Tabletop Exercise Program (SSTEP) where houses of worship develop interactive, discussion-based exercises by leveraging pre-built exercise templates.

Emergency Planning Exercises for Your Organization

Public Assistance Grants

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Learn about availability and eligibility of public assistance grants.

You can also view our Houses of Worship Applicant Fact Sheet or take an online training to improve your knowledge on how FEMA delivers Public Assistance grant funding to private nonprofit organizations: IS 1026 Eligibility of Private Nonprofit Organizations.

Emergency Managers: Resources to Engage Faith-Based Communities

DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations. This funding is available to promote emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration between public and private community representatives. See all FEMA preparedness grants.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) supplements and expands the ongoing work of local social service organizations, both nonprofit and governmental, to provide shelter, food and supportive services to individuals, families and households who are experiencing, or at risk of, hunger and/or homelessness. Learn more about the EFSP.

Last updated August 1, 2020