Volunteers and Safety Procedures: What Works?

Children's ministry

Safety procedures are some of the more important and more minute aspects of children’s ministry. These details of ministry are critical to creating a safe environment for kids.

The challenge with safety procedures is their regularity. Some safety processes you use so often, you don't even think about them, like diaper changing, restroom procedures or illness.

Other procedures you use so rarely that it’s easy to forget the proper process to handle them—like situations that include bleeding or vomiting, for instance.

As a ministry leader, I want to make sure our volunteers have the knowledge and resources to handle these situations, no matter how frequently or infrequently they occur. The question always comes down to “How?”

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This past year, we posted our standard safety procedures in each room for things like incident reporting, restroom policies, vomiting or bleeding. They were posted in the form of a flip chart.

The problem I had with the flip chart was that the procedures were posted but not necessarily visible. A volunteer would have to flip the pages to actually review the information. And although that can work, I wanted to try something that didn’t require any flipping—something that kept the information as visible as possible.

Our graphics team created a poster mounted to PVC piping. The posters are incredibly durable yet simple, as they do not require framing. We’ll mount each poster using some heavy-duty 3M double-sided tape (the kind you stick once and it’s there until Armageddon).

I’m interested to see how this works. I certainly like the clean look and simplicity of the sign.

Here are some important things to note:

  • Evacuation maps are not listed on these. Our evacuation routes are posted in the hallways and specific to a grouping of rooms.
  • No sign is the “end all, be all.” Signs become “visual white noise” and disappear over time. This sign enhances but does not eliminate the need for regular training or review of these processes.

What have you found to be effective in keeping safety procedures available to volunteers when they need them?

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. For the original article, visit ginamcclain.com.

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