NARRATOR – Jefferson City’s Concord Baptist Church is a very busy place on Sunday. More than 800 people can be in the sanctuary, fellowship halls, classrooms and meeting rooms during each of two morning services.
DEACON DALE SCHMIDT – This is Section A…In Section A, you would go out this door, and into the hallway….Section D, they will go up these steps and out that door.
NARRATOR – Deacon Dale Schmidt says with so many people, and four different floor levels in the large complex, the congregation decided it needed a comprehensive severe weather emergency plan to calmly and quickly get everyone to safe places in the lowest levels of the complex.
SCHMIDT – If we know there is some kind of a storm coming up, we will put that on the board, we will remind the congregation which areas they are to use.
TIM DEIMLER – High roofs and steel beamed roofs do not stand up to high winds, just because of the broad spans that they are, so we need to get people out of these sanctuaries so we can keep them safe.
NARRATOR – Evacuating the sanctuary without bottlenecks.
SCHMIDT – And they would come out this door, and down these steps.
NARRATOR – Is just one part of Concord Baptist’s severe weather emergency plan.
SCHMIDT – Section D is the only section that would be utilizing these stairs.
NARRATOR – There is space for hundreds of people below ground level or partially below ground level. While church members from the sanctuary would be taking cover in the basement or interior rooms.
SCHMIDT – These are two kindergarten classrooms here…
NARRATOR – The three levels of classrooms, all above ground, would simultaneously be evacuated downstairs. The priority is getting people away from windows and exterior rooms, and getting them to the lowest levels of the church complex.
SCHMIDT – We have them going to different stairwells, so there won’t be choke points when we have people wanting to get down the stairs.
NARRATOR – Schmidt says the church’s plan calls for Sunday school teachers to keep all their students together. Parents know they will be reunited with their children in prearranged meeting locations in the safe areas downstairs.
SCHMIDT – They know to come down this hallway (out of frame, focused on door handle), exit this door.
NARRATOR – Practicing reassures the younger children, and they’re reminded that they’ll be reunited with their parents downstairs, where it’s safe.
SCHMIDT – They’re interior rooms, they’re concrete all around, so these are all secure areas.
NARRATOR – By developing and sharing its comprehensive severe weather emergency plan with its hundreds of members, Concord Baptist Church has taken a powerful step in being StormAware.