MERRILL, Wis. - Armed intruder attacks can happen anywhere, at any time, typically with little or no warning. As houses of worship, schools and nonprofit organizations begin to open their doors for in-person participation and services, the potential for armed intruder situations could rise to pre-pandemic levels. Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1, is offering an armed intruder resource kit free on its website. It features, among other things, videos, checklists, FAQs, and important assessment and planning guides. To access the tools and information, visit: https://www.churchmutual.com/6421/Armed-Intruder.
Church Mutual also is partnering with industry experts ALICE Training Institute and Secure Education Consultants (SEC) to help organizations develop plans and procedures to keep their people safe before, during and after a violent attack. According to 2020 data from the Church Mutual House of Worship Safety and Security Study, one in 10 Americans say they do not feel safe in their place of worship. Their top concern: 51% said they feared armed intruders. Moreover, according to the National Sheriffs’ Association, the average police response time from the start of incident to their arrival is 15 minutes.
“It’s deeply upsetting that today’s worshippers, schools and nonprofits must contend with the very real possibility of an armed intruder,” said Guy Russ, Church Mutual’s armed intruder lead. “As our nation focuses on pandemic recovery and broader COVID-19 vaccine distribution – and returning to a new level of normalcy –the chance of violent events increases. Even beyond churches, many organizations, from schools to offices and factories, are asking themselves, ‘What do we do if an armed intruder enters our facility?’”
The online resources offer critical information to help organizations:
• Identify and monitor behavioral warning signs and anonymously report suspicious activity.
• Work with local law enforcement to develop a security plan.
• Respond to an armed intruder – new techniques and tactics are replacing the traditional lockdown method.
• Minimize injury and increase survival rates from a violent event.
New Armed Intruder Alert System
In addition to its online resources, Church Mutual recently launched an Armed Intruder Emergency Service, which includes a technology-driven device called PULL FOR POLICE™ that notifies authorities within seconds of an armed attack. When activated, it works like a silent fire alarm, helping to decrease police response time. The PULL FOR POLICE™ device is about the size of a USB drive and connects to a Church Mutual customer’s sensor kit via radio signal. It can be discretely placed anywhere within an organization, out of sight, but still easy to access.
“Protecting against armed intruders comes down to preparation and planning,” Russ stressed. “We encourage all organizations to take this critical first step and reach out for help to keep those most important to them safe. Additionally, they should strongly consider the new technology tools as they offer an additional level of security.”
About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:
• A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
• Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
• Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019
• 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient
• Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System
• Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
• Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
• 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College
1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.
Guy A. Russ Assistant Vice President — Risk Control
Guy can speak to impacts on houses of worship during COVID, armed intruder prevention, cyber risks & sexual abuse prevention.