Using Ushers in Emergencies (part 1 of 2)

There are a dozen emergencies that can happen in a church but there are three “big” ones: fire, weather, and active shooter. In every case, people should act differently. In fire, people in the church building need to get out; in violent weather, they need to hide in a low place; and with an active shooter, they need to get out of the building or hide behind closed doors.


It is not possible to train every member what to do in each distinct situation and expect them to remember. It is even hard to train staff members what to do. Most churches use ushers to welcome people into the building so use ushers to lead people to a safe place. Ushers are highly visible, they know the buildings and the people, and are usually trained in how to speak to and guide people. Use them in emergencies when you need to move people quickly.


This requires you to do some intensive and on-going training with your ushers. They need to know who will give them instructions to act and to stop. They need to know what kind of situation they are dealing with. They need to know where to tell people to go and who will sound the all-clear signal. They need to know how to handle panic-stricken parents or people with mobility issues. They need to know the names and faces of church members who are medical, fire, and police experts.


Please develop a well-thought out emergency preparedness plan in conjunction with local first responders (fire and police personnel). There are some guidelines available from your local emergency responders. Work with them to tailor a plan for your facility and your people. Use your ushers for more than just “ushing.”


Lead On!