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Protection for Prayer - New App Helps Houses of Worship Plan for Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
Becky Lewis
This article describes a new app developed by the federal Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC) to assist houses of worship (HOWs) in assessing their risk factors for safety threats and starting a draft plan that can be expanded and customized to meet the security needs of each HOW.
The new app is titled “Safeguarding Houses of Worship” (SHOW) and it is distributed to vetted public safety professionals, who use it as a means of initiating contacts with and safety training for HOWs in their jurisdiction. Agencies may choose to work with HOWs individually or through local workshops/planning meetings in which the need for a safety plan is discussed and the app is suggested as a tool for planning and action. SHOW leads the users through a series of questions and answers, making a floor plan with critical points such as gas and water shutoff valves; taking an inventory of emergency-management skills in the congregation; and implementing recommendations on training for dealing with medical incidents, serious weather situations, and missing children. It also guides users in assessing risks for specific hazards, such as earthquakes, wildfires, and proximity to a potential hazard, such as a dam or nuclear facility. It also provides a glossary of relevant terms, sample forms for handling a bomb threat, and stocking a medical kit.
Date Created: July 4, 2019