Emergency Preparedness Plan

This document is meant to be a guide for emergency procedures at CMC. The hope of this document is to create awareness of our emergency procedures and clarity for responses to emergency situations. Key leaders must be identified and have ongoing familiarity with this document. A periodic review of this document is highly recommended by the Chair of the Administrative Commission.


For​ ​All​ ​Emergencies​ ​Dial​ ​9-1-1​


  • Pastors:
    • Joyce Peachey Lind
    • Jason Gerlach
  • Facilities Manager: Sue Swartz, Church Administrator
  • Emergency​ ​Response​ ​Coordinators:
    • Shelby Hertzler
    • Kendal Bauman
  • Emergency​ ​Response​ ​Team​ ​Members:
    • Administrative Chair: Lee Good
    • Faith Formation Chair:  Roveen Yoder
    • Ushers Chair: Matt Ruth
  • Medical​ ​Response​ ​Team​ ​Members:
    • Doctors:
    • Nurses:
    • First Responders:
  • Other​ ​Emergency​ ​Contacts:
    • Harrisonburg Police Non Emergency: 540-434-4436

***All​ ​people​ ​listed​ ​here​ ​are​ ​eligible​ ​to​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​emergency​ ​response​ ​coordinators.


Facilities Manager

A facilities manager is a staff member or volunteer trained to know the floor plans of each building and the emergency evacuation procedures for any emergency—medical, fire, tornado, etc. This person should be involved in long-range planning and will meet on an annual basis with the emergency response coordinator to review the current policy.

A facilities manager may work with the emergency response team to:

  • Coordinate emergency planning activities.
  • Assist with recruiting team members.
  • Schedule training.
  • Communicate ongoing plans.

Emergency Response Coordinator

The emergency response coordinator on duty assumes responsibility for implementing the building emergency plan at the time of the incident, providing leadership until personnel with more experience arrive on scene. Responsibilities may include the following:

  • Coordinating with the emergency agency/agencies any needed evacuations or other emergency actions.
  • Ensuring that all emergency response team members are assigned duties and understand all emergency procedures.
  • Working with other emergency response team members to evaluate an emergency. (e.g., fire department, police, paramedics, emergency management, etc.).
  • Ensuring proper emergency communication.
  • Delegating needed emergency actions.
  • Relaying status report information to the emergency agency/agencies involved

The emergency response coordinator may also be called upon by the emergency agency/agencies involved to aid in crowd control and building evacuation. The emergency response coordinator should immediately identify her/himself as such to maintenance personnel and emergency agency personnel responding to an incident.

Emergency Response Team Members

The emergency response team members are staff members or volunteers who understand and are prepared to facilitate a safe and effective response to any emergency situation. These people can step up in the absence or in assistance to the Emergency Response Coordinator. Responsibilities include the following:

  • Building evacuations—responsible for reporting to the Emergency Response Coordinator that their assigned section has been cleared during an evacuation.
  • Lockdown/shelter in place procedures
  • Other intervention procedures as the situations dictate.
  • Work in coordination with the emergency response coordinator in crises.
  • Identify and assist those who may have need for special assistance (blindness, hearing impaired, autism, mobility impaired…), and assist in crossing Water Street to the Ice House Parking lot.

Emergency response team members should immediately identify themselves as such to any personnel responding to the incident.

Medical Response Team Members

Medical response team members are members of the emergency response team who have been trained in medical emergencies. Responsibilities include the following:

  • Providing first aid to those incurring a medical emergency until medical personnel with higher training arrives on scene.
  • Conducting a primary assessment of the medical emergency situations and reporting this assessment to appropriate personnel.
  • Providing medical assistance and support until professional help arrives.
  • Remaining in charge of a medical emergency situation until professional help arrives.

Medical response team members should immediately identify themselves as such to any personnel responding to the incident.


Emergency Response Coordinator Responsibilities

In the event of an emergency, Emergency Response Coordinator responsibilities may include the following:

  • Knowing how to correctly respond to and summon help for a medical emergency.
  • Knowing how to correctly report a fire or smoke emergency using the 911 emergency numbers.
  • Knowing the locations of the fire extinguishers in their area and how to use them.
  • Knowing the facilities lock-down/shelter in place procedure.
  • Knowing designated shelter areas and precautions to take in the event of a weather emergency.
  • Becoming familiar with exit routes and knowing alternate exits to correctly respond to a call for an evacuation.

Medical Emergency

Call 911 or other appropriate emergency response activation number. Be prepared to give the following information:

  • Name and extension.
  • Location.
  • Number of people involved.
  • Nature of injury or illness.

Remember to stay on the line until help arrives, if at all possible.

Note: Treat minor injuries from supplies in the first aid kits. The kits are located in the kitchen directly to the right inside swinging doors, up the north stairwell to the right directly before the balcony entrance, church office, preschool, nursery. The kits should be checked and restocked regularly by the church administrator.

While waiting for professional help do not move the ill or injured person, unless safety considerations necessitate movement or transportation to a safer location. When professional help arrives:

  • Allow responding units to take control of situation.
  • Emergency response team members will stand by to assist as needed

Regular CPR/First Aid training is recommended for all leaders, especially preschool and Sunday School teachers. This will be initiated by Youth Commission Chair.

Threat against a pastor, attender, or the church

On occasion, individuals threaten violence against our community, either overtly or by implication. We want to respond to these threats in a way that is not excessive, but also takes the potential danger seriously.

In the event of a threat, the Emergency Response Coordinators, in collaboration with the Lead Pastor and Council Chair, should assemble a team of three or four individuals who will be ready to escort the person of concern off of CMC’s property if they come, particularly during worship. Selection of this group will vary depending on the specifics of the situation. People who know the person making the threat are particularly valuable in this role, as are those who have experience working in mental health and conflict resolution. Speaking with others who are familiar with this individual can provide helpful context.

Preferably, the person should be intercepted outside of the church building, to minimize distress among members of the congregation.

If appropriate, it may be helpful for people who know the threatener to make contact outside of CMC and try to reach a resolution. Again, this will vary depending on the situation.

If possible, an order of no trespass should be obtained from the sheriff's office.

The Rockingham Co sheriff's office (collaborating with City of Harrisonburg) also has a mobile crisis unit, which is a trained plainclothes officer and a CSB mental health staff person who are ready to respond to situation in which someone may be in danger of hurting themselves or others. Depending on the situation, contacting them when there is a concern may be appropriate. During office hours we should call: 540-434-1941 and after hours its 540-434-1766. A link to further info is www.hrcsb.org/emergency-services.

In general, these incidents should remain confidential and not shared with the congregation at large.

Fire and Smoke Emergencies

If you detect smoke and/or fire:

  • Initiate evacuation procedures for any occupants of the affected building(s)
  • Call 911 (move to a safe area before making this call).
    • Give your name, telephone number, and location.
    • Describe the situation.
  • If you know how to use a fire extinguisher and feel the best course of action is to attempt to extinguish the fire, locate an extinguisher and, without risking injury attempt to extinguish the fire.
  • If the fire is beyond the point of a safe attempt to extinguish it, isolate the fire by closing doors in the area before evacuating.

Note: Evacuation route and holding areas should be checked/secured prior to the evacuation. Evacuation should be toward ground level. If you encounter smoke or heat in a stairwell, proceed across that floor to another stairwell and continue evacuation to ground level.

  • Assist disabled persons in your area.
  • If you encounter smoke, take short breaths through your nose and crawl along the floor to the nearest exit.
  • Feel all doors with your hand before opening. If the door is hot, do not open it. If the door is cool, open it slowly, keeping behind the door in case you have to quickly close it to protect yourself from oncoming smoke or fire.
  • Proceed to the ground level and outdoors.
  • Move upwind of the building at least 75 feet away from the building and beyond designated fire lanes. Go to your designated assembly area (if possible).
  • Do not go to your automobile or attempt to move it from the parking lot. This could hinder access by emergency vehicles.
  • Do not congregate near building exits, driveways, or roadways.
  • Do not reenter the building until an all clear is issued by the emergency response coordinator. (Note: The all clear should be initially issued by the Fire Department.)

Building Evacuation Emergency

All Emergency Response Team Members should know the emergency evacuation routes and procedures for the building, and their designated assembly area outside the building.

In the event of a building evacuation all children will be escorted across Water Street to the Ice House parking lot south of the church building and all adults will meet there.

Should the designated assembly area be deemed unsafe, an alternate assembly area will be located in the parking lot for the rental properties to the north of the building.

If a Building Evacuation is Initiated, important “dos” and “don’ts” are:

  • Remain calm.
  • Follow the instructions of the Emergency Response Coordinator or Emergency Response Team, if applicable.
  • If you occupy an enclosed office, close the door as you leave.
  • Use stairwells for evacuation. Be alert for other staff, members, and emergency agency personnel who might also be using the stairwells.
  • Do not return for coats, purses, briefcases, etc, after you have left the area.
  • Do not return to your area until instructed to by the Emergency Response Team.

Note: Ensure that the Emergency Response Team has planned with disabled leaders or members a procedure to assist each disabled person in evacuating.

Severe Weather Emergency

The National Weather Service has developed a method of identifying storm conditions that foster the development of severe weather. The classification and definitions of storm conditions are:

  • Tornado watch
  • Tornado warning
  • Other severe weather watch or warning

A “tornado watch” status indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. A ”tornado warning” is an alert issued by the National Weather Service after a tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by weather watchers or by the public.

Tornado Safety Basics

If you are indoors, the general responses to a tornado warning are:

  • Move to the basement of the church if possible.
  • Move away from windows and exterior walls if possible.

Intruder/Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan

In the event of an intruder, the general procedure is to run, hide, or resist, using best judgment in each situation. When a hostile person(s) is actively causing deadly harm or the imminent threat of deadly harm or is barricaded within a building, the following procedures should be followed:

  • If communication is available, call 911 or other appropriate emergency #’s.
  • Don't stay in open areas.
  • Lock the window and close blinds or curtains.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Turn all lights and audio equipment off.
  • Try to stay calm and be as quiet as possible.

If for some reason you are caught in an open area, such as a hallway or main congregation area, you must decide what action to take.

  1. You can try to hide, but make sure it is a well hidden space or you may be found as the intruder moves through the building looking for victims.
  2. If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running, then do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Keep any objects you can between you and the hostile person(s) while in the building. Use trees, vehicles or any other object to block you from view as you run. When away from the immediate area of danger, summon help any way you can and warn others.
  3. If the person(s) is causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
  4. The last option you have, if caught in an open area, may be to resist. This is dangerous, but depending on your situation, this could be an option. If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, follow their directions and don't look the intruder in the eyes.
  5. Once law enforcement arrives, obey all commands. This may involve your being handcuffed or made to put your hands in the air. This is done for safety reasons, and once circumstances are evaluated by law enforcement, they will give you further directions to follow.

This Emergency Action Plan cannot cover every possible situation that might occur.

Nevertheless, it is a training tool that can reduce the number of injuries or death if put into action as soon as a situation develops. Time is a critical factor in the management of a situation of this manner.

Warning Signs

It must be stressed that if you have had contact on the premises with ANY INDIVIDUALS who display the following tendencies, that you may contact law enforcement, and certainly notify leaders in your organization:

  • Threatens harm or talks about killing others.
  • Constantly starts or participates in fights.
  • Loses temper and self-control easily.
  • Swears or uses vulgar language most of the time.
  • Possesses or draws artwork that depicts graphic images of death or violence.
  • Becomes frustrated easily and converts frustration into uncontrollable physical violence.


In the event you receive a threat call (i.e. bomb threat, armed assault, custody issues), remain calm; if possible, have a pre-arranged signal to alert other personnel to listen to the caller also. If possible, advise the caller that the detonation of a bomb could maim or injure innocent people.

Threat Checklist

Complete this list if you receive a threat.

Exact time of call: ____________ Date: ___________

Exact words of caller:

Caller’s voice: (circle)
Male Female Adult Youth

Estimate Age: _____

Black White Hispanic Asian Other: __________

Calm Disguised Nasal Rapid Accent

Nervous Angry Sincere Slurred Loud

Excited Giggling Stressed Crying

If voice is familiar, whose did it sound like? _____________________________

Last updated by Council May 2018.