New HHS security guide is 'a great place' for churches to start

New HHS security guide is 'a great place' for churches to start

New HHS security guide is 'a great place' for churches to start

An advocate for preparedness says the federal government's new 16-page guide for churches and other faith-based nonprofits is surprisingly helpful.

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) "Physical Security Performance Goals for Faith-Based Communities" lays out a five-item checklist to help churches protect themselves from outside threats.

"Faith plays an important role in communities across the United States, from providing social services such as food, shelter, and clothing, to fostering a sense of unity for those with similar spiritual beliefs," the document states. "These welcoming communities are often physically centered around houses of worship, which strive for the right balance between security and accessibility."

Ryan Dobson of Home Safe and REBEL Parenting says the federal government stepped out of character on this.

Dobson, Ryan Dobson

"It's a great start for churches that have no security protocol," he tells AFN. "There's a pastor out there going, 'My goodness -- I know I've got to do something; I just don't know what to do.' This is a great place to start."

The guide gives practical ways for a church to identify, protect, detect, and respond to and recover from threats. Dobson says no church is too small to worry about security, and the larger they are, the more help they could use.

"If you've got more than 100 people, I don't know if it's an in-house thing anymore," he adds.

On a smaller scale, he thinks the guide can also be used to help protect homes and families.

"As an individual, I would start looking at personal security in a much, much greater way these days, especially if you're married and have a family," Dobson submits.

He advises people to get their concealed carry permit "and start training with it."