Middletown hosts active shooter training for police
RELATED: Butler County pastors, police urge churches to create safety plan
The church also has a “safety plan” that Fernandez said he would review with church leaders and members, based off the information he learned at the seminar. The end result is finding the best way to “better protect” the members, the pastor said.
After the Texas shooting, church members gathered and prayed for those impacted, Fernandez said.
“It’s natural to have fear and to think about the vulnerability of your congregation to an active shooter,” he said.
Until recently, before the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 that killed nine people, churches were considered to be a “safety zone, said Allen, who said it was important for people to feel secure at church.
Muterspaw said the church shootings have been committed by the “wrong person with wrong attitude.”
Years ago, during an active shooting, police didn’t enter the building until at least four officers were present. But now the first officer is instructed to find and apprehend the suspect.
“Waiting is costing lives,” Allen said.
The church leaders were told to:
- Teach staff and members the proper way to apprehend a shooter and secure his weapon. Without training, employees may "freeze up" during an attack, Highley said.
- Find ways to secure doors, whether that's with bars, locks, belts or heavy furniture.
- Instruct those under attack to run to the nearest exit and not hide in a corner or under desks. "The threat has changed," Birk said.
- Create a "rally point" for congregates to meet after they escape an active shooter. They recommended neighboring churches sharing keys to their buildings, if possible.
- Put letters or numbers on every exterior door to make it easier for law enforcement to understand the layout of the building.
- Limit the number of entrances into a church so it's easier to monitor who's coming into the building.