Mass shootings in the United States have skyrocketed in recent years and have garnered plenty of media attention, bringing up the heated debate around gun control in the country. From nightclubs to schools, bars and restaurants to offices, the increase of active shooter attacks has changed the way people look at safety in everyday locations, including places of worship.
Church shootings have proven that anywhere can turn into a potential active shooter location, showing that even places of refuge and safety are not as safe as we might have thought. Dealing with potential active shooter situations has now made its way to the top of many religious leaders’ lists after shootings took place at churches in Texas and a synagogue in Pittsburgh in recent years.
Here’s a better look at why houses of worship have been dealing with more active shooter situations and what can be done about it.
Active Shooters Targeting Religious Institutions
Houses of worship, no matter what religion, are particularly vulnerable. This can be due to their nature to be welcoming, keeping their doors open and inviting guests to join in worship. This makes it easy for people with other motives to enter and inflict some form and size of damage.
The layout of a house of worship also plays a role in making security difficult to sustain and keep the potential for danger low as visitors can enter through the back or side while those in the congregation face forward.
Houses of worship should be opening up a dialogue around how they can still be open to the public and guests while also reevaluating physical security measures, helping people recover from emotional stress, and managing potential lawsuits. By taking steps to develop communication strategies and planning for continuity while also keeping worshippers and staff safe, worship centers can have a better plan for either preventing active shooter scenarios or move forward after an event has taken place.
Insuring Against Active Shooter Events
The fallout from an active shooter event at a worship center can be quite substantial and long-lasting. What’s more, some policyholders may not understand that something like this isn’t covered by a general liability policy. With this in mind, it’s important to know what kind of coverage is needed and who to turn to in times of distress.
Many types of property and general insurance plans do not specifically outline something like an active shooter scenario as part of their coverages. This can leave religious institutions handling a large bill when it comes to liability claims. That’s why at Tangram, we have created special social services coverage that covers different perils that can befall a religious organization.
From crisis management to property damage, handling this kind of event can be stressful and confusing, that’s why Tangram offers the help of professionals who can help provide assistance during assailant-related times. Having this kind of protection can help to keep losses low, including revenue and costs related to property damage.
Recovering from an Active Shooter Event
Recovering from an active shooter event is a long and hard process that doesn’t come with an exact science. But there are steps that churches and other worship centers can take in order to better serve their communities.
In the short-term, an organization should be focusing on re-establishing safety while trying to minimize the emotional impact. Those affected need to receive care and support while also getting timely information from those in authority.
In the long-term, the recovery will depend on the organization and the certain circumstances it finds itself in following an active shooter event. The main goal should be to help worshippers and staff regain normalcy and a feeling of security in a place that they expect to be a refuge. Worship centers can offer recovery assistance, grief counseling, and other mental and emotional health help to those who need it.
As the effect of the incident lessens over time, an organization should start to plan ahead on how to keep something like this from happening again.
About Tangram Insurance Services
Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.