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Hanover Presbyterian Church – Safety Plan

Purpose:  To define a documented plan for safety of people at Hanover Presbyterian Church

Definitions:

Sanctuary:  The main meeting and worship hall of the church building.  This includes the balcony and narthex at south side, plus nave, banner closet, and choir loft on north end with three outside doors.

Fellowship Hall:  the area immediately adjacent to the sanctuary including stairs and exit doors.

Kitchen:  includes back raised deck and entry cloakroom and janitor closet

Parlor:  includes adjacent music office

Basement area under Fellowship Hall:  includes hallway, front and windowless classrooms

Classrooms/meeting rooms on main floor of Education Wing:  including hallway, northeast outside door, choir robe / preschool office room, and three bathrooms

Church Office & Library:  includes pastor office and exit to memorial garden

Basement area under Education Wing:  includes stairs and train rooms with outside exit door

Attic:  including stairs and entire area above the Education Wing classrooms

Responsibilities:  The Pastor, Head Usher, Church Administrative Assistant, Preschool Teachers, Nursery Attendant and Junior Worship Leader are responsible for ensuring the safety of people within Hanover Presbyterian Church (HPC).  Care of those incapacitated or the young should be quickly delegated as necessary.  Check all areas people might be.   Persons responsible for head counts at Sunday worship should verify the count among those who had to evacuate the building.  Clerk to notify these people.

Contact Authorities:  Immediately upon securing the safety of the persons in HPC, the most senior responsible person will contact the authorities (typically Pastor, Administrative Assistant or Preschool Teacher, or activity leader).  Information to be shared shall include: Hanover Presbyterian Church, 174 East Main Street, nature of event, status of person(s) and the need for immediate assistance.

General Security of the Building and Grounds:  During normal business hours all doors are locked with doorbell at Education wing door available to the public.  To facilitate worship services, including special events, the main doors to the sanctuary will be unlocked and available.  During the worship service, rear entrances to the building, including Kitchen and Education Wing doors will be locked.  Sunday morning and during preschool hours, the church office should be unlocked to facilitate access to the south exit.

Fire:  In the event of a fire, including electrical, structural, or smoke, an announcement will be made to evacuate the building.   All people in the building will exit by the nearest exterior door and people will proceed to the back corner of the parking lot near the church sign at Presbyterian and Crowe Street.   All rooms and hallways contain a “you are here” building chart with routes to exits clearly indicated.  These also indicate the location of fire extinguishers which are checked annually by the local fire department.

Severe Weather:  In the event of severe weather, such as tornado, strong winds, electrical storms, when a shelter alarm has been received, people should move away from windows and proceed to designated rooms for shelter.  Normally this is the lower interior classroom in the basement under Fellowship Hall.  Preschool tornado drills utilize this area and the local fire department has it on file.

Gas Leak:  In the event of a natural gas leak, the building will be evacuated until the concern is addressed and the building is deemed fit for use or occupancy.

Catastrophic Structural Failure:  In the event of a major building or system failure, such as a collapsing wall, ceiling, or foundation, the affected area or portion of the building will be evacuated and secured pending repair or being deemed fit for use/occupancy.

Public Health:  In the event that a public health crisis has been identified, the responsible persons will communicate directly with individuals regarding precautions and protocols.  Preschool handbook covers this for parents with teachers assuming primary role in implementation.

Medical Emergencies:  In the event of a serious medical emergency to an individual, the leader of the activity or parish nurse if present should take charge directing assistants and a 911 call if needed.  A fully equipped First Aid Kit is available in the Kitchen in a clearly marked cabinet near the Fellowship Hall doorway.  The Parish Nurse is responsible for periodic monitoring of its supplies.

Menacing Persons:  When a person(s) enters or attempt to enter the church building with the intent to injure or harm people within the church, all persons should immediately shelter in place.  During a worship service, where people are congregated within the sanctuary, an announcement will be made directing people to either shelter in place or to evacuate the building.

Hazardous Chemicals:  Spills or mishandling of certain chemicals will be treated as a safety concern.  When fumes/gases threaten occupants, people should evacuate to safer parts of the building or the parking lot’s far corner.

Safety Drills:  Periodic drills and explanations of the safety plans should be conducted.  Safety drills, especially as it relates to the preschool, should be conducted at a frequency sufficient to eliminate confusion in the face of fire, severe weather or menacing persons.

Training:  People with the responsibility for safety procedures should be reminded annually and job descriptions updated to reflect this expectation for Pastor, Administrative Assistant, Preschool Teachers, Head usher, Committee Moderators, leaders of various groups who regularly use the church building (Scouts, PFLAG, Yoga, etc.).  Outside groups using the building will receive a copy with the building us application and will be responsible to name someone in their party to be familiar with the safety plan.