Does your church have a Safety Team?


If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Psalm 24:10

Safety Team? Mark S. Knapp is a Spokane area attorney licensed in Washington state and ready to advise you on legal and practical aspects of church security issues. Mr. Knapp has been practicing law for 31 years. We started advising clients on firearms related issues in 2001 and incorporated as the Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC several years ago.

We advise people and regarding firearms, gun rights, self defense, and criminal defense issues all over Washington state. Many employment related issues also involve firearms and gun rights. We were in Federal Way for 25 years. We have now been located in the Spokane, Washington area for the last 6 years.

The legal issues confronting churches today require a great deal of careful consideration. Church Boards & Deacons must consider liabilities for how parents pick up their child from the nursery and Sunday School, outside church activities and careful scrutiny and observation of every adult that has access to children under the care of your church ministries.

You have to make choices as to who will be on your Safety Team, how to train the Team and who will carry concealed. How much should the Church Board get involved in creating policies for the team, choosing the leaders and funding Team activities?

Most of these discussions will create some kind of a paper trail that is discoverable if litigation results from an accident.

If injuries result from stray rounds discharged by church safety team members defending the lives of the pastor or church goers, criminal activities and medical emergencies, there is a potential litigation will ensue . That means lawyers and other experts second guessing every decision you and your teams make. Not making a decision can also constitute errors that may or may not be covered by Errors and Omissions insurance policies or other liability coverage.

Even if insurance could cover every conceivable liability, there is a moral obligation to protect church members and staff. The Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC can review insurance policies,  prepare written legal documents such as disclaimers, review contracts and help draft policy statements. We can also present Seminars on the laws in Washington state pertaining to use of force at your church and outside activities related to church ministry.

Mr. Knapp has taught seminars on the Use of Deadly Force in Washington, Washington Firearms Law and personal protection in the home, outside the home and for churches and schools.

One thought on “Does your church have a Safety Team?

  1. Just as important, is that safety team trained?
    To what level?
    Is it just whomever volunteers or does leadership actively recruit people for the safety team?
    Does the church’s insurance extend to coverage of safety team actions?
    Is the training ongoing? Or, just “one time and it’s good.”
    Does the infrastructure exist to adequately support them?
    Are members trained with firearms, and to a high enough level?
    Backup / quick response capability?
    Does everyone “run to the trouble spot” or ae they sufficiently
    trained and have the discipline to remain in their “zone”?
    Are the entry doors configured as a sally port so intruders can be
    Are unmonitored / unsupervised exit doors alarmed?
    Is a staff member in an office somewhere monitoring safety team
    communications? Or, if 911 resources are needed does it take
    time for someone to get to a phone? Does everyone call 911 or is
    there a designated “single point of contact” to minimize
    confusion? Does that single point have a backup? Is there
    procedures in place to ensure the correct action is taken in a
    timely manner?
    Are safety requirements periodically reviewed? Annually? Semi-
    annually? Quarterly?
    Are internal issues – fire, emergency medical needs, sudden
    power loss, etc., part of the safety team response?
    Is there a contact list – power company, police, fire, ambulance,
    locksmith, post-fire cleanup and restoration etc.? Is it current?
    Are the sfatey team members CPR / AED / First Aid trained?
    Is there an AED on site? Does your facility need more than one?
    Is it located in the right place for rapid deployment?
    First aid Kit(s)? Trauma kit(s)? Are they in the right place(s) for
    rapid deployment?
    Do safety team members carry IFAKs? All of them?
    Are members of the congregation who can provide advanced life
    skills identified? Are they enrolled in safety team training? “Go get
    Dr. Smith” – does everyone know who Dr. Smith is and how to
    recognize him? If Dr. Smith responds to an in-house emergency is
    there a competent team member assigned to support him, or is he
    expected to go get the AED / Trauma Kit himself?


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