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Houses of Worship

Communities across Maryland rely upon religious institutions not only to exercise their religious beliefs but also as community gathering places and hubs of secular activities.

A selection of references, training, and videos has been compiled below to assist clergy and members of houses of worship in understanding how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to an active assailant incident. Those affiliated with houses of worship are encouraged to utilize these resources as a starting point.

Preparedness & Planning

FEMA’s Faith-Based Community Preparedness

Faith Based Community Emergency Plans |

Fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, arson and active shooters can all affect houses of worship. With incidents occurring with little to no warning, many houses of worship are developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of their congregations, staff, and facilities. This site offers training, tools, and video links for specific information on active shooter preparedness.

Safety for Faith-Based Events and Houses of Worship

This site is presented by the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative and has numerous links to resources to bolster emergency preparedness efforts and to foster best practices to help keep faith-based events and houses of worship safe.

Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) for Houses of Worship

This guide provides information for houses of worship with information regarding emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face. It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and loss of life, and it encourages every house of worship to develop an EOP.

Protecting Houses of Worship

In partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization, CISA provides resources that assist houses of worship in securing physical and cyber infrastructure. The resources include a guide, a self-assessment tool, trainings, exercises, and other materials focused on a wide range of man-made threats (e.g., bombing, active shooter, vehicle ramming, etc.) that could be used against the FBO-HOW community.


The Faith Based – Information Sharing & Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO),resilience%20and%20continuity%20of%20these%20important%20community%20assets

The Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO) serves as a trusted partner at the center of a national network of faith-based organizations and associations that have been informed and equipped to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents arising from all-hazards, ensuring the resilience and continuity of these important community assets. FB-ISAO support is intended to inform members’ situational awareness, preparedness planning and security operations, and to penetrate the decision-making cycle to help inform time-sensitive decisions effecting operations, security and resources.

Jewish Community Centers

This page provides Jewish Community Center stakeholders with information and resources to be used to create a security plan to prevent security breaches.

Training & Exercises

Houses of Worship: Targeted Disruption Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Toolkit (Ohio Emergency Management Agency)

This toolkit was developed to provide a free product for houses of worship to better prepare staff, worshipers first responders, and other partners to plan for and respond to active assailant incidents. The toolkit provides all the materials and information necessary to easily plan and host a tabletop exercise.

20 to Ready: Active Shooter

This video was created by Brigham Young University and presents a scenario that provides guidance on actions to take if you find yourself in a mass shooting incident.

You Are the Help Until Help Arrives

Training video and web-based training course created because life-threatening emergencies can happen fast, and emergency responders aren’t always nearby. These injuries can require immediate action to prevent an injured person from dying, so those nearest to someone are best positioned to provide first care.

Stop the Bleed®

One of the best ways to increase a person’s likelihood of survival when severely injured during active assailant incident is to quickly stop severe bleeding. Coworkers can provide initial life-saving measures. The Stop the Bleed® site provides resources on how to organize an in-person training, life-saving strategies and posters, instructional videos, and aid kits to place in common areas.