Three Ways to Be More Safe and Secure In Any Situation
Whether you’re concerned about potential violence in a workplace, school or church, or harmful situations of any kind, anywhere, there are three bits of advice that can help you detect potential harm and react to it more effectively:
1.) Live defensively
2.) Observe with purpose.
3.) Treat everything that looks or sounds threatening or harmful, as real.
1. Live defensively. You are able to drive defensively without feeling terrified and without making your passengers feel afraid because of your excessiveness. However, if you stop thinking about dangers and hazards and drive heedlessly, you are more likely to cause accidents or be part of a crash. The same concept can apply to the way you live and the way you encourage your children to live. It’s not about unnecessary fright and dread, it’s about realistic planning, necessary awareness and reasonable precautions.
Make it a personal habit to think: Assessment, Prevention, Detection, Protection, Response.
2. Observe with purpose. Yogi Berra was correct when he said, “You can observe a lot by watching.” Observation with purpose focuses on who or what is around you, who or what is approaching you, who or what may have an effect on you, and who or what might unexpectedly appear, including hazards of all kinds. Be aware of unsafe conditions, even if you are the only one who seems to be noticing. Don’t assume that someone else would have surely done something by now if there was danger.
When you’re looking at people, do a total look for appearance, unusual movement or unusually standing still, a look at the face to detect attention or emotion and a look at the hands to see contact with clothing, items being held or readiness to use the hands.
3. Treat everything that looks or sounds threatening or harmful as real. If an activity or situation seems to be dangerous or potentially harmful, stop it if you can and ask for an immediate investigation or inspection. Appropriately warn others who may not be aware of the danger. When you sense a harmful situation, trust your instincts and protect yourself and those in your care.
If someone does or says anything that indicates a reasonable potential for harm, assume there will be harm and take appropriate action immediately–usually calling 911 or yelling for help, followed by flight, fight or taking cover, according to the circumstances or threat.
If you were correct, help is on the way no matter what else happens. If you were incorrect, you may stop a repeat of the falsely threatening situation or an actual future incident. At least you will show that you were observing with purpose and ready to take action.
There are many other things that can add to your safety and security and the safety of those for whom you are responsible. These three can provide a good foundation for everything else you do.
Sometimes there is a reason the “road less traveled” isn’t used often. Wise travelers have researched it and found it will take you nowhere or it will bypass the very things you need to see or do or it will actually take you twice as long to get to where you need to go–or it can lead to tragedy. Shortcuts and seldom used roads can be interesting but they can have many perils.
*A trainer told me he doesn’t use photos in PowerPoint because the “thumbnail” images he copied from image searches were blurry. I suggested he use one of the free photo sites available and he said he doesn’t have that much time, so he just grabs a thumbnail image. I said, “But, you aren’t using the thumbnails because they’re not clear.” He said, “Yeah, but they’re quick.”
*Recipe sites abound with people who give a recipe one star then list the things they changed about it. One woman on www.cook.com wrote, “This cake stuck so bad it was ruined trying to get it out of the pan! I didn’t have time to do the whole grease and flour thing so I used spray-on oil, but there’s no reason that shouldn’t have worked. Now I’m out a lot of money and time.”
*An acquaintance I knew from long ago told me recently about being fired twice. He said, “You know me, I take the road less traveled and that doesn’t go over well in a lot of these stodgy places.”
*One of the documents on church safety and security that I distribute is about how to conduct a thorough assessment of the status of every aspect of the property, people, places, programs and processes of a place of worship. It involves assessing in each season and at different times of the day and night, in a variety of ways. A security director wrote to me and said, “We used your material and it was a great help. But, we didn’t want to get involved with so much assessing so we just did it on a Saturday and called it good.”
*Last week I was in Salida, Colorado teaching a class for Sheriff Pete Palmer‘s deputies and some officers from the Salida Police Department. As usual I stayed in a motel on Highway 50 and I thought I was seeing most of Salida, a nice little town. It turns out, that is a bypass around the real Salida–which is much lovelier than I realized.
The bottom line: Of course there are useful shortcuts for some things and taking an isolated road can be interesting. However, when you’re learning a new skill, new habit, new process, new recipe or new anything else, do it the complete way, the way you were told, the way it’s described, the tested way. When you’re an expert you can develop shortcuts. Another bit of advice: If you are bound and determined to do your own thing, your own way, in life, work or relationships, don’t complain when the cake sticks to the pan.
This is Highway 50 that skirts the main portion of Salida
Downtown Salida on E Street, South of US 291 and North of US 50. Nice little shops!
Free Church Safety and Security Seminar
in Ponca City, Oklahoma
on October 9th, 2012.
Another one planned for Kansas City, MO
On October 9th, I’m teaching my 6-hour Worship Without Worry material as a Train the Trainer class. Participants will get the PowerPoint slides and other materials, so they can go back to their churches and teach the fundamentals of whole-church safety and security.
This class is designed for church leaders, security directors, maintenance and facilities staff and others who represent a church. It is also designed for police officers who are involved in the security programs of a church or who are community resource officers or crime prevention officers.
Contact me for the details and a copy of the ad. The police chaplains are sponsoring it in a huge meeting room so all are welcome. It’s free except for a $15 lunch and refreshment charge.
I don’t do many of these seminars, but Sgt. Fred Landis of the Ponca City Police Department worked hard to make this happen. I’d love to see you there if you live in that area! It’s worthwhile and very fun!
The date for the KCMO class hasn’t been set yet, but it will be in November. It will either be free or for a very nominal cost. Let me know if you want to receive a copy of the ad when we develop it.
NOTE added in 2012. I’m now sending a combined Word document of about 150 pages that contains eight safety and security items:
1. How To Conduct a Thorough Safety and Security Assessment
2. The Role of Greeters and Ushers in Church Safety and Security
3. The Role of the Platform Team in an Emergency
4. How to Develop an Emergency Medical Response Team (Even Without Medical Staff)
5. Brief Thoughts on Developing a Security Team
6. How to Plan for a Special Event
7. How to Develop a Security Plan
8. A sample security team document.
You can print it all, forward it to others or copy and paste from it into your own material.
Background about Church Safety and Security Material
At the end of 2007, after the tragic events in Arvada, Colorado and at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, my intent I wrote a 23 page document on the role of greeters and ushers in church security, to assist a few pastor friends who had asked me for suggestions. Then, I wrote a lengthier document on how to assess the safety and security of a place of worship, based on my experiences assessing courthouses, government buildings and facilities–including a nuclear site–as well as churches and church schools. Later I added three more short documents, one which is really just an edited response to someone who asked me about how to develop a church security team. That one is not all-inclusive by any means, but apparently has assisted many churches in their efforts.
Five free documents on church safety and security.
Altogether I have five documents on church safety and security that are yours for free, if you contact me and ask for them. The reason I don’t just have a download button is that I like to hear personally from those who want to use the material—and sometimes I hear back from them when they have used it! I’m always interested in what church is represented by the person requesting it, where it’s located, the size of the church and anything else of interest. Sometimes the person requesting doesn’t represent a specific church, and that’s fine too. I’ll send the material without any background information, but I enjoy having it.
8,000 16,000 so far! Who was to know that word-of-mouth advertising, viral marketing and a great price (they’re free!) would accomplish so much? Probably the fact that they were free added a great deal to the popularity of the material! However, I know that hundreds of churches are using the material. I have spoken at many conferences and meetings in which attendees have commented on how helpful all of documents have been. Several other websites also distribute it and it is given out regularly by police departments and sheriffs offices, denominational groups and at various conferences. As a result, the material has been distributed in North America, Great Britain, Europe, China, Japan, several countries in Africa and in Mexico and Central and South America. I’ve enjoyed the whole experience tremendously!
Why is the material so helpful? I think there are three reasons the material is helpful–and isn’t because of my expertise (although you can believe that too, if you want!).
1. The focus is on both safety and security. Certainly there are concerns in places of worship about active shooters and church violence of all kinds. However, accidents, injuries, crimes, misuse of money and authority, vehicle safety and weather, mechanical and medical emergencies all can harm church members and the activities of a place of worship. Focusing only on violent acts will tend to distract from all the other situations that require prevention and planning.
2. It is adaptable to any place of worship in any setting. I collected every book I could find on church safety and security and have found all of them to offer something worthwhile. However, many of them tend to be focused on specific settings or types of churches. Some of them are most concerned about response to violent acts and don’t mention other situations. Of course all can be adapted to other settings and problems, but often readers may not make the connections.
I have tried–I hope not to excess–to keep a wide variety of situations in mind. Storefront prayer rooms and cathedrals have similar yet very different problems. An urban church and a one room church in a remote rural location have similar and also different worries. A mega-church with programs going almost continuously has potential problems that a corner church in a small town does not–and the reverse is also true. However they both can be harmed in similar ways.
Whatever material you read, consider the principles and concepts and work around the fact that the church being described is different than yours.
3. Anyone who takes it a step at a time can apply the concepts and suggestions. Conducting a security assessment of a place of worship doesn’t require an expert. In fact, a moderately trained church member or team can probably do a better job than a stranger in most cases. For one thing, the church member can be present at various times to assess a wide-variety of programs and processes. This aspect of assessing is at the heart of my material. To be thorough you must assess in various situations throughout the year. That can’t be done by the local police or a hired consultant.
One of the biggest misconceptions about security is that law enforcement personnel know more about it than a lay person might. In truth, most law enforcement officers, even community resource officers, have never received specific training in how to conduct a thorough assessment of any facility or to make recommendations about it. They are often not accustomed to the limitations, requirements and restraints involved in making a church safe and secure, compared to a bank, a courthouse or a home. They are willing to do it and will certainly apply their knowledge, skills and intuitive thinking–which can be considerable. But, they are usually only available on a limited and one-time basis and their abilities will vary, as with any task.
You may find that the help of the police or sheriffs office is just what you need. But keep in mind that you or anyone else who takes his or her time to do it right, following the guidelines in reasonable material, mine included, can do a very acceptable job.
HOW TO GET THE FREE DOCUMENTS ON CHURCH SAFETY AND SECURITY
You can use the comments section on this or other posts and ask for the material that way. Or, you can go to the Contact Me tab at the top of the site and use the space provided. Your email address is not published either way. I will only send you the material and will not contact you again, unless you get in touch. It’s an easy process.
I appreciate attribution if large portions are used, but as I often point out….I probably won’t know the difference! Also, be sure to share the documents with others in your denomination or community. It’s a great outreach to other churches, to show caring and concern.
There is no Eleventh Commandment About Church Safety and Security
Your place of worship is unique in its setting and vulnerabilities, and so are the members and their concerns. You and others can develop a program that grows over time and is adjusted as needed just for your church. There are no rules about it. Starting and doing something reasonable is better than waiting until someone knows how to develop something perfect. Take a leadership role in the safety and security of your church. Volunteer to help. Be a reasonable resource (not a naggy pain in the neck!). The important thing is to get started and keep going. Keep the faith!
Church Security Assessments–You Can Conduct One Very Effectively
Several weeks ago I posted that I was working on another church security document. It’s completed now and I’m happy to send it to anyone who requests it. I don’t have it as a download because frankly, I like to say hello to those who ask for material, and have met some great people all around the world that way! (I have sent the document on Greeters and Ushers to almost every continent and many, many countries, as well as to every state. It’s been very fun and gratifying!)
This new document is essentially a small (83 page) book on the topic of church security assessments and planning. The last part is an update of the greeter and usher document. The first part will be a tremendously helpful tool for those who want to get to know their place of worship from a safety and security perspective, as well as to plan for emergencies. You don’t have to hire someone or call someone to help you, with this as a guide.
You will find it to be more in-depth than any of the other material I have seen on the market right now–although those can be very helpful. They often have material I haven’t included in this one because of the limited scope of the topic. As long as people are well balanced and focused on effectiveness using best practices for security, it’s all useful and all worth reading.
Please use the contact form to get a free copy of this PDF file on church security. You can print it and distribute it or forward it freely, as long as it is not sold. I have also made this document a bit less secured than the last one, so you can select and copy portions of it in your own material if you wish. If you use large portions or the whole document, I’d appreciate attribution. But, I’ll leave that to your conscience!
Best wishes in your efforts to increase the safety and security of your place of worship!
Safety and Security Planning
for Places of Worship
UPDATE: Since I developed the document, How to Conduct a Safety and Security Assessment of a Place of Worship, it has been distributed on various sites including this one–and forwarded by many people to other congregations–to well over 5,000 places of worship of all sizes and in all settings. That is very gratifying!
I think one reason for the success of the document–a 95 page manual at this point–is that it presents a balanced view and is adaptable by any church. The price–FREE–is also good!
I’ve been asked several times about other information related to church security and I may develop something else. Time is the key factor, of course. But, if I do that, I’ll put a note on this site about it and let others know as well.
This is the original article I wrote about the document on assessing and it still is worthwhile to read.
In the last week, since the tragic shooting death of a pastor in a Baptist church in Maryville, Illinois, I have received hundreds of requests for my material on the role of Greeters and Ushers in Church Security. (It puts the request for that document to over 3,000 on my site alone, and many other sites offer it as well. That’s an amazing story all its own.)
I’ve also received many requests to provide training or assistance about conducting assessments in places of worship. This morning I received three phone calls from media sources wanting to know about the consulting I do about church security. I’ve told them all the same thing: I make presentations and provide training about professional and organizational development, and I can help people develop and implement plans of any kind that will be effective. However, I don’t focus solely on church security planning as a business, although there are others who do. For example, Glen Evans is a trainer who has a very useful site at www.churchsecuritymember.com.
My message about security planning is always the same: The people who work in and use a facility are the best ones to assess it, and they can do it without hiring a consultant. It is true that they might need to use some resources to assist their efforts, and certainly an outsider provides some good perspectives. And, I’m not actively discouraging the idea of hiring a trainer or consultant. But, the important thing is to simply look at the church and its events and processes with the eyes of someone who might want to cause harm or create a problem, and consider how to keep that from happening and how to respond if it does happen. It is possible for anyone to do that, just as they can do it for their own homes–and they can probably do it better for their own homes than anyone else could do it.
I’m working, right this moment, on a document that will help church leaders and others effectively assess the safety and security of their places of worship and take action to make it more safe. When it is completed I’ll update this post and send it out to those who have requested the other document on greeters and ushers. In the meantime, those who are reading this can send a request for the new document and as soon as it’s done, I’ll send it. It’s free and I’m happy to provide the information.
In the meantime, I think it’s worthwhile to note that all the security planning in the world could not likely have prevented the situation in Maryville. That doesn’t mean security planning is futile, just that security planning doesn’t make people and places invulnerable. But, it can help limit the harm–as happened in Maryville through quick responses. And, effective planning can prevent crime, injury and disruption simply because of obvious preparedness.
Security planning can be as valuable as the plan, because it raises awareness and helps everyone realize their responsibilities.
Use the contact form to let me know if you want to be put on the list for the free document on how to assess the safety and security of a place of worship.
An update on this free church security material!
This document on greeters and ushers has now been updated and included in the larger document (really a small book) with the title: How to Assess the Safety and Security of Your Place of Worship. It’s a tremendously helpful guide that will take you through the process and allow you to really get to know the safety and security of your place of worship, as well as to plan for emergencies. Please contact me for the free PDF file, which can be freely copied and distributed, but not sold. Send it to anyone you think could use it in their place of worship. I’m happy to see it out and about as a free resource! Tina Rowe, May 8, 2009
A Free 24 Page PDF: The Role of Greeters and Ushers in Church Security
The post below was originally published on January 12, 2008, and has resulted in over 1,800 requests for the document. (UPDATE: Over 2,500 as of May, 2009, from this site alone!)
That’s just the count of people writing to this site. There are several other sites who also offer it–some as a part of a subscription package for other things. (That bothers me, but I hope people will realize they can get it from other sources as well.) Several pastors have given it out at conferences and conventions, so I suppose it has been copied several thousand times by those people. I think all of that is both interesting and fun!
I have heard back from hundreds of pastors, security team leaders and others, and have enjoyed every message. I wish there was not a need for such material. But, I’m glad to be able to provide at least one piece of a security package.
I have also been asked to do presentations in several settings, and have done that on occasion, when circumstances made it possible. My underlying message is that planning is almost as valuable as the plan. There are some very good things that come from looking at safety and security systematically. It is never wasted time and effort. And, when done correctly, it is an energizing project for the entire church family.
Thank you for the contacts and your follow-up messages!
Church leaders, no matter what the size or location of the church, have a responsibility to develop plans and processes that help ensure the safety and security of members, visitors and church property. This is made more challenging by the fact that church buildings and congregations may be targeted for violence, threats or disruption. In addition, church buildings have the same risks as other buildings about safety and security problems related to natural disasters, fires, mechanical and electrical failures and safety hazards.
One of the key components of a church security program is observant and responsive greeters, ushers and deacons. These front-line roles are often the first people to see or hear problems, and often have access to all parts of the building before, during and after the service. But sadly, many greeters and ushers receive little or no training related to the role they can play in observing, getting help quickly and providing leadership in an emergency. Even if you have a security team, greeters and ushers are often the ones who first observe a problem situation and must react appropriately.
Church Security Concerns: The Role of Greeters and Ushers is a free, 24 page PDF document, which can be copied for use in church security training.
•It provides a well-balanced, realistic approach that can help the meeters and greeters of churches feel more confident and be more effective in situations of concern as well as in emergencies.
•This document has been useful for pastors, church security teams and greeter/usher teams, as well as being a great resource for distribution by law enforcement organizations.
The role of greeters and ushers in the area of church security (with or without a formal security team).
Awareness and response
Potential security concerns and options for action
A security self-evaluation checklist
This security information is a great addition to your church manual and should be part of the orientation training for all greeters, ushers, deacons and church leadership. Contact me for your FREE PDF copy of, Church Security Concerns: The Role of Greeters and Ushers.
Some questions about prickly people at work: Do you supervise someone you tip-toe around to avoid setting them off in some way?
Do you sometimes feel that you and the rest of your workplace are held hostage by one person who is incredibly difficult for others to work with?
Does it sometimes unnerve you? Aren’t you tired of it?
The employee who must be treated like a time bomb: I’ve written before about discourtesy in the workplace. In fact, that is a recurring theme of mine, since I hear so many complaints about it. However, this article is focused on the person who is challenging because he or she is hyper-sensitive to critique or suggestion–let alone criticism. Perhaps the employee cries or sulks or becomes angry and withdrawn.
The result is that coworkers and supervisors avoid the slightest hint of suggestion that something that person did or said should be done differently next time or could be improved. The difficult person becomes the only one who never hears a complaint or suggestion. No wonder he thinks he’s perfect! No wonder she is shocked at the slightest criticism! And, what often happens is that when a supervisor finally decides to say something he unloads on the employee in a way that makes things worse.
The difference between sensitive and punitive. I chose the photo for this article for a reason: The prickly tree does not need to be treated gently because it is delicate. It must be treated gently because it will punish you otherwise! That is also why we need to have heightened awareness of employees who seem to be over-the-top about their emotions, irritations and reactions.
You are not psychologist or psychiatrist, so you do not know whether the behavior is much more severe than it seems–not that psychologists or psychiatrists always know either! However, you are responsible for the safety and security of others, including the employee who seems to have trouble handling any critique. You are also responsible for enforcing rules and policies, and there are nearly always rules and policies about courtesy, respect and appropriate behavior.
There are reasons to be concerned. Last week in Kentucky, an employee who had been chided about his repeated cell phone use and for repeatedly not wearing safety goggles, returned to the workplace and shot and killed five people, including the supervisor, before committing suicide. Many similar events have occurred in businesses, industry and government offices around the country. Supervisors and managers are justified in being concerned about prickly people!
You probably will not have such a dire situation with your challenging employee, but I doubt that supervisor thought so either. You may think you know your challenging employee very well–you may even be friends. But, emotions and mental upset can result in actions you never expected. You certainly might have to deal with a lot of anger and bitterness.
Do your job and handle the situation. Do not let yourself get into the habit of allowing poor work or ineffective behavior because you want to avoid the upset that will result if you say something. Do not require other employees to tolerate bad behavior from a coworker because you do not want to deal with it.
Talk to HR, your psychological resources if available, and your managers, to let them know what you have planned. Follow organizational guidelines. For example, you may not be able to tell an employee it is his last warning if there was no first warning. You also need to find out what you can do if the employee reacts in a way that is a rules violation or becomes out of control. Can you place a formal disciplinary action about it? Can you require him to go to psychologist? Can you call security? Can you make him go home? Can you keep him out if he tries to return? Know in advance, even if you do not expect any strong reaction.
When you talk to the employee, do your best to make it a comfortable conversation. That might sound impossible, but make the effort. Do not put desk space between you. Sit at a table or in a conversational arrangement.
*Start by saying what you have observed, why it is a problem and what the employee must do differently in the future. Stick to observable behaviors, not what you think the employee thinks or feels.
*Remind the employee of rules or policies and say they will be enforced in the future.
*Keep it brief and do not preach or do excessive counseling, simply state the behavior that must stop.
*Consider following that with the approach of reinforcing what you want to see stay the same, then getting the employee to say back what he or she will do differently in the future about a sample situation.
*If you have organizational resources to recommend, provide those in a supportive way. Just do not let his problems become yours to solve.
There are many resources that can provide more lengthy information about handling difficult corrective interviews than I have space for in this article. However, you will do just fine if you stick with that formula of stating the behavior that is a problem, giving an example, and getting feedback about how it will be handled differently in the future. I’m not saying the employee will like it or thank you. But, at least you can get through it.
Get back to work. After the interview, quickly, quickly, quickly reestablish normal conversations and relationships. Assign work, thank him for a good job, be low-key but appropriate. Give him a chance to save face and move forward.
I have experienced several supervisory situations in my career where I halfway expected a very angry outburst or a sulky temper tantrum. I was correct in three cases. VERY correct in one case! In another case, the employee looked at me for a moment and said, “OK.” He never acted the same tyrannical, angry way again! If I had known it was going to be that easy, I would have talked to him much sooner!
Your situation will be unique and you must decide how it should be handled. However, do not feel foolish for thinking you have reasons to be concerned about someones hyper-reactions to criticism. There is ample evidence than such reactions can lead to more serious problems if they are allowed to continue.
I recently read a supposed true anecdote about a woman who told her daughter she escaped a fire in her apartment and was able to save her new swimming suit. The daughter questioned her about why, with all the valuables in her home, she chose to save a swimming suit. The woman said, “Now that I’ve finally find a one-piece suit that doesn’t make me look fat I sure don’t want to lose it!”
Good question: What would you consider your must-save possessions?
If you and I are fortunate we will never have an emergency that requires us to evacuate our homes hurriedly–perhaps in the middle of the night with no lights to assist us as we leave. However, it does happen to some people and could happen to us for any of dozens of reasons. When it does, we want to be able to make a quick getaway and be prepared for “what do we do next?”
Two categories of items for an emergency:
1. Emergency Supplies (Food, water, personal care items, health needs,etc.)
2. A Quick Getaway Kit (Identification and financial items needed to travel, relocate or conduct personal business in an emergency.)
One way to consider what emergency supplies you would need and what you would want to have in your Quick Getaway Kit is to think about the varied situations that might require them:
- Fires, floods and natural disasters that might damage or destroy anything left behind.
- Power, water supply and public safety emergencies.
- An event that makes your home uninhabitable.
- An event that prevents you from leaving your home to purchase needed items.
- Any emergency requiring you to leave immediately and for an extended time–perhaps far away from your residence, city or even your state.
- Any situation where needed services (banks, stores and offices) are unable to be open for business.
- An emergency–natural, accidental or medical–requiring immediate access to key information.
Emergency supplies: Many government websites have lists of proposed emergency supplies. The lists may look voluminous but you probably have many of the items already and will not have a difficult time maintaining them in a ready condition. These can literally be life-savers if you must evacuate your home or if you are trapped or stranded. They certainly can make life more comfortable and tolerable in those situations.
A Quick Getaway Kit: Consider using see-through storage bags, sturdy over-sized envelopes, or metal fire-resistant boxes for each person in your family. Keep the items in a secured and concealed location, but where you can quickly grab them and leave your house in an emergency. Among the things you would want to have available:
1. Identification and records that are sufficient for immediate needs: Passport, birth certificate or other identification.
2. Health and home insurance and other registration cards that might be useful.
2. A few checks.
3. Enough cash to be able to stay at a motel, get gasoline or buy food, and enough change for vending machines. You do not need an exceptionally large amount, perhaps a hundred dollars in ten dollar bills, and five dollars in change. Even if you have credit cards you may find you need cash–especially in an emergency. Some emergency planners suggest keeping one credit card solely for serious emergency situations.
4. A checklist with locations of other items to be taken if time and circumstances allow–or to allow others to be able to find them at a later time if you cannot assist.
5. Useful keys.
6. An emergency contact list with the phone number of your insurance agent, family members, coworkers and others.
7. Any other documents or items you want to be able to easily locate and take with you in an emergency.
Some emergency preparedness sites suggest keeping a duffel bag with essential items of clothing and toiletries in the same general location as your Quick Getaway Kit, in case you do not have time to get to other emergency supplies. As with all plans, your personal situation is the key to deciding what you will need.
Secure your Quick Getaway Kit. This kit will have essential personal and financial information, so keep it in a concealed, secure location. A good general rule is to keep your kit as high up as practical on the ground level of the house, in a container or location that does not signal, “Important papers kept here.” For example, consider the top shelf of a pantry or cupboard. If you want to keep the items in your file drawers, keep them in a folder or envelope marked in an unexciting way. (When I had an open office and knew that files of other supervisors had been rifled, I kept private documents in a folder marked, “Odometer Records”.)
Perhaps the biggest benefit to planning what you would need in your Quick Getaway Kit is that it makes you pause to evaluate the status of your emergency planning. It also will ensure that you have vital documents, items and information in a secured location instead of in drawers and files all over the house. This weekend, set aside time to plan and prepare for an emergency. A Quick Getaway Kit is a good way to start.