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There is no way that we can be prepared for everything that “could” happen but we can discuss and be ready for many things. In 2017, a total of 108 fatalities happened in places of worship in the United States. So far in 2018, we have 18 confirmed occurrences of guns in school with two of these resulting in fatalities.
There is no “one” training or plan that will work for every church or community. Catie Newman, IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator has compiled some resources to start the process of preparing for such an emergency. Other resources and trainings are available online, through your insurance agency, or your local law enforcement agencies.
Have a Plan
This is a difficult discussion—filled with emotions and fear—however, it is important to have a plan in place. Consider creating a Safety Committee who can create an emergency plan. It can be made up of individuals from each committee and board.
RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Video
RUN. Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority. Leave your things behind and run away. If safe to do so, warn others nearby. Call 911 when you are safe. Describe each shooter, their locations, and weapons.
HIDE. If you can’t get away safely, find a place to hide. Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet. Silence your electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate. Lock and block doors, close blinds, and turn off the lights. Don’t hide in groups—spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter. Try to communicate with police silently—like through text messages or by putting a sign in an exterior window. Stay in place until law enforcement gives you the all clear.
FIGHT. Your last resort when you are in immediate danger is to defend yourself. Commit to your actions and act aggressively to stop the shooter. Ambushing the shooter together with makeshift weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, and books can distract and disarm the shooter.
A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate)
Training instructor led classes provide preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event. Whether it is an attack by an individual person or by an international group of professionals intent on conveying a political message through violence, ALICE Training option based tactics have become the accepted response, versus the traditional “lockdown only” approach.
Protection and safety must be the priority in an Active Shooter event or Terrorist Attack. Circumstantial and operational concerns vary in every new situation. ALICE Training provides options and classes that address the unique challenges specific to Police/LE, K-12 Schools, Healthcare Facilities, Higher Education, Businesses, Government, and Houses of Worship.
Local Police and Sheriffs
Every Iowa Police Department and Iowa Sheriff's Department has personnel trained to come to your facility and “walk-through” with you to discuss and identify safety needs. They will also come to your group and lead “Active Shooter Training” for your specific location, at NO COST.
Sheepdog Ministries offers training, consulting and advice for safety in your place of worship. it is a Christ centered security consultation ministry designed by two current Christian law enforcement officers with over thirty years of combined police experience. Contact them 760.215.2618 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Catie Newman
IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator