The Emergency Response Plan is designed to help the members of the Sedona UU Fellowship in the event that an act of violence occurs during a service/meeting. While acts of violence at churches are rare, they do occur. In 2008 a gunman walked in to a UU church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and shot eight people, killing two, before he was overpowered by members of the congregation and subdued until police arrived. The gunman stated in letters that he hated liberals, gays, perverts, etc. As recently as July 2015, a gunman killed nine people in a church in Charleston South Carolina. Anti-Semitic groups target Jewish congregations (and perhaps intentionally or otherwise, others meeting in synagogues). The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified several hate groups in Arizona. Most of these groups are neo Nazi. One group identified as Family Watch International has been identified as a LGBT hate group. These groups are located in the Phoenix area and southern Arizona. According to Sedona PD there are no known hate groups in the area.
As our Fellowship grows and becomes more visible to the larger community as a progressive voice for social justice and other causes, we need to address some basic safety issues. No emergency plan can cover all possible circumstances.
This plan informs members what they should do and who to contact if they suspect someone is mentally disturbed, acting suspiciously or acting in a threatening manner.
The plan gives members some basic guidelines on what to do if someone becomes violent and starts shooting or otherwise hurting members. The plan tells members what to do when the police respond.
What should you do if you suspect someone is acting suspicious or is mentally disturbed?
- If you can, contact another person and tell them your concerns.
- If possible separate the suspicious person or persons from the rest of the group
- If you believe that a person poses a threat: Trust your instincts, call 911 or tell someone else to call 911.
What should you do if someone becomes violent and starts shooting or otherwise hurting you or others?
- Call 911
- RUN: Leave the area immediately and if possible try to help others to leave.
- HIDE: If it is not possible to leave the building then run, hide and or lock yourself and others in rooms and/or closets.
- FIGHT: If you have no other option in order to save your life or others but to physically confront the person, do it decisively and quickly.
What to do when the Police respond:
- Obey the commands of the police officers.
- Keep your hands visible at all times.
- Be cooperative and tell the police what you witnessed.
The JCSVV has the following firearms policy:
Firearms inside the building are prohibited with the following exceptions.
- Law Enforcement personnel
- JCSVV plainclothes security hired for the event. These are usually retired law enforcement officers. All have passed AZPOST firearms qualifications and or Sedona PD firearms qualifications.
- Members of the congregation may NOT enter the building/sanctuary with a concealed weapon unless they have notified the Security detail and the president of the fact.
The Fellowship’s Firearms Policy is to comply with the firearms policy of JCSVV. At this time we do not expect members to be armed or to have security personnel in attendance during our services or meetings.
No emergency plan can cover all possible circumstances. While a violent confrontation is very unlikely, individual members should think about how they would act during a violent confrontation and have a plan in mind about what to do.
Updated February 11, 2016