I was traveling several weeks ago and stopped into a Wal-Mart around 10:00 PM one evening to pick up something I needed. Shortly after entering the store, there was an announcement a 3-year-old child was missing in the store. A complete description was broadcast with specific instructions to notify any Wal-Mart employee if you encountered the child.
Immediately, a manager took positions by each exit, watching for the child, alone or if being carried by another. Other staff was posted by emergency exits to watch. Within a minute the announcement was made, staff posted at exits and the police notified.
I asked a manager if this was normal procedure. “Yes, this happens from time to time. In the past, the child has always been located in the store. However, we want to watch the exits in case the child wanders out, or if they are taken. This is our standard plan.”
A church safety or church security plan should include a procedure to locate lost children.
Perhaps ushers can be utilized to watch doors. If a child is missing, far better to react fast, and hopefully then find the little one in a corner or hiding in a closet then to assume everything is OK and then miss an opportunity to protect the child.
All Christian volunteers working with children should be trained in the steps taken if a child is missing.
Review your church procedures. All churches, regardless of size need to have a procedure in place to react quickly if a child is ever missing. The first minutes are critical in the event of an abduction.
To prepare your church for emergencies large and small, check out the Ready Church tract here: http://bit.ly/GTXIvN