Emergency Planning for Houses of Worship

FEMA offers a multitude of resources for every imaginable emergency situation and scenario. Now FEMA has developed guidance documentation that specifically caters to the unique needs of churches and congregations with its new “Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship.”

This new guide provides houses of worship with information regarding emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face. It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life and it encourages every house of worship to develop an emergency operations plan (EOP).

The guide is organized in four sections:

  • The principles of emergency operations planning
  • A process for developing, implementing, and continually refining a house of worship’s EOP with community partners
  • A discussion of the form and function of a house of worship’s EOP
  • A closer look that discusses house of worship emergency planning in the event of an active shooter situation.

This guide is designed to be scalable for use by small to large-sized houses of worship in order to help navigate the planning process. For houses of worship that also operate a school, please see the “Guide for Developing High-quality School Emergency Operations Plans” for planning considerations specific to the school environment.

Learn more:



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