Faith-Based Organizations Under Threat: How Preparedness Pays

(DGIwire) – Faith-based organizations (FBOs)—namely any religious institutions and houses of worship—are intended to serve as sanctuaries for their members from all the evil that happens in the outside world. Yet, many of these same FBOs have become targets for a spectrum of threats such as hate crimes, active shooters, workplace violence and even terrorism.

Why are faith-based organizations targeted by such threats? Religious facilities can be perceived as national icons: Attacks on these institutions are attempts to generate publicity for the attackers’ causes. Likewise, as large numbers of people of a particular faith gather in a single location and at scheduled times, these predictable patterns can represent “soft targets” to those with ill-intent, especially as there is most likely little security in place.

“It is important for every faith-based organization to embrace the reality that although most of us respect these as houses of peace, we cannot ignore the fact that such sentiment is not universal. Communities benefit when vulnerabilities are assessed and protective measures implemented before they become necessary,” says Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, CEO of Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH), a global consulting firm that specializes in developing and disseminating strategies to understand and mitigate active threats and how organizations can best recover from them after they occur. “Preparation, which we all hope to be a silent but necessary process, needs to include emergency preparedness plans and protocols that are widely recognized and accepted within each respective community.”

Along these lines, KGH has innovated the Preparedness Without Paranoia™ approach, which is predicated on the fact that understanding the modern threat environment does not have to be an intimidating or overwhelming task. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, the resiliency of any organization in a threatening situation depends on the extent to which its employees are prepared, confident and capable of reacting appropriately and effectively. In this way, Preparedness Without Paranoia™ seeks to foster and develop an educated and engaged citizenry through teaching heightened situational awareness and increasing each individual’s security efficacy. More specifically, Preparedness Without Paranoia™ emphasizes the importance of understanding today’s threat environment, recognizing telltale signs of an evolving threat, and empowering people to take effective action.

KGH has innovated an end-to-end approach to problem solving centered on the rapid transformation of data and information into knowledge and foreknowledge. KGH’s approach focuses on a fusion of talent, technologies and tradecraft to deliver the timely and precise insight required for operational advantage or strategic planning. KGH also provides technical, analytical and leadership training for organizations seeking to enhance performance and gain advantages by rapidly and precisely solving problems, preventing surprise and making decisions.

“Faith-based organizations (FBOs) should be sacred, safe spaces, and key to this is having the proper planning in place for a wide range of potential emerging situations,” Dr. Kiernan adds.