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This month, we spoke with Paul Lurie, the COO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, about creating a risk management culture.

How can community rec centers best establish a culture that values risk management and safety? 

It starts at the top with management and leadership. If risk management and safety is something that is looked at as a fundamental part of who the organization is, it trickles down to the hiring and onboarding of all staff. Also, having it on the forefront of people’s minds by doing regular audits and walkthroughs is crucial.

What safety protocols do you implement at your facility? 

Our safety protocols start with safety of the overall facility and having security on site while we are open. Being a Jewish community center, we understand the sad reality of the world today and do everything we can to ensure our members, staff and guests feel welcome and safe at all times. Additionally, we do regular inspections of all our facilities to ensure maintenance that keeps everyone safe.

How do you train your staff in risk management? 

Our risk management training is done on two fronts. With our management team of about 40 people, we do regular gatherings to discuss safety and risk management. This ranges from general training to specific training on our “See Something, Say Something” philosophy. With our frontline staff, risk management training is done in regular staff meetings per department, and covers the areas they focus on by discussing what could happen, how we would deal with that scenario and what to look out for.

What sort of partnerships do you form with local EMT, fire and police departments? 

We have an amazing relationship with our local police and EMS, as well as federal agencies. We offer all members of our local police station and EMS location complimentary memberships, and police or EMS at other stations receive a discount. We meet at least twice a year with the leadership of our local police station and involve them in planning large-scale events. We were also fortunate to have a 550-seat theater on site, and we’ve partnered with the police, EMS, FBI and Homeland Security to run regular regional training for their staff and community at large.

How can you help members buy into the risk management culture? 

I believe members buy into it when they can see it’s something present in our thinking. When our staff walk through and look for things that need to be corrected on a regular basis, or respond when a member suggests something that could become a problem, members respect and get involved in the risk management mindset.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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