In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI predicted that faith-based organizations would be the next big targets. Though we understand such organizations have been targeted for some time, it was not until the Charleston church shooting in 2015, and more recently, the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, that incidents met the minimum victim requirement for the FBI to consider them mass casualty events.
Despite the rise in active shooter events in the U.S., the chances of an event occurring remain relatively low. However, random violence is also on the rise, and though the number of victims per event is usually less than 3 (the FBI minimum requirement for a mass casualty event), the total number of victims per year far exceeds that of active shooter events. When considering the chances of violence occurring at your place of worship, take into account the statistics of violence perpetrated at faith-based facilities across the country. Preparedness for your organization is key to prevent and mitigate a potentially tragic event.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s General Duty Clause (OSHA Act of 1970)
29 USC 654, SEC. F Duties
(a) Each employer —
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees
It is important to note that faith-based organizations are only exempt from OSHA rules with respect to employees who perform religious services. If a faith-based organization has secular employees, such as administrative staff or teachers at a school run by the organization, those employees are covered by OSHA. This means that most faith-based organizations have more than just a moral obligation to their employees, they have a legal one as well.
Regardless of the size of your facility, steps should be taken to protect your congregation and the sanctity of your place of worship. Let us help.
Criteria determination was that the incident took place inside or on the immediate premises of a faith-based facility and at least one person was injured or killed at the hands of another individual (not including the perpetrator killed or injured by police). Many incidents began at other locations and inadvertently ended in the parking lot of a faith-based facility and many bodies were found on the grounds. These were not counted unless members of the congregation were harmed or killed in the event or it was determined by police that the victim was without a doubt killed on the grounds.
To learn more, an interactive map with more information on each individual incident is available for viewing on our website’s desktop version.