Across the United States, Americans congregate in faith-based venues to worship, learn, play, and bond as a community. However, public gatherings are vulnerable, and adversaries may perceive houses of worship as attractive targets where they can inflict mass casualties, cause substantial psychological impacts, and draw extensive media coverage.
The Emergency Response Consulting Group offers numerous resources to assist faith-based and community organizations with their efforts to prepare for all types of hazards, whether natural or man-made. Technical assistance is provided through presentations, workshops, training, security assessments, and emergency action plan development.
The Emergency Response Consulting Group is committed to partnering with faith-based communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of violence. Faith-based events and houses of worship, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques, are inherently welcoming, with open access and publicly announced schedules for religious services and special events; however, this welcoming nature can pose risks. An open environment where a significant number of people of the same faith congregate regularly at specified times to worship, study, celebrate special events, commemorate days of significance, and host public gatherings presents unique security challenges. Members of the nation’s faith-based organizations and houses of worship can take steps to proactively reduce risks and provide safe, secure, and resilient places of worship and faith-based gatherings. The Emergency Response Consulting Group uses a standardized process — including stakeholder outreach, physical security protection, training, and development of emergency action plans — for identifying and reporting suspicious activity in jurisdictions across the country.
The Emergency Response Consulting Group and its partner agencies engage the faith-based community in an effort to bolster emergency preparedness efforts and to foster best practices to keep faith-based events and houses of worship safe. Informed, alert communities — including clergy, lay leaders, congregants, and visitors to places of worship — play a critical role in keeping our nation and their venues safe.
We hear about a shooting in a house of worship, workplace, school, college, university, hospital, or other public venue (restaurants, theaters, community centers) on a continual basis, in both large and small towns. Just watch your local news and you will see that over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of indiscriminate shootings of innocent people in public buildings.
In recent months, public assembly areas throughout the nation have experienced active shooter and other workplace violence incidents. Though no one can truly be prepared for an active shooter attack, there are ways that individuals can be better prepared if such a situation occurs. The first people on the scene of these types of incidents will be administrators, managers, security staff, employees, clergy, lay leaders, and congregants. As recent events around the country continue to show us, unfortunately houses of worship are not immune from intruders, crime, or violence. Training on-scene personnel in the initial actions to make a difference and potentially save lives during the crucial first couple of minutes before police arrive on the scene is vital. Effective crisis management is critical to the safety of the congregants and other individuals in your religious institution.
Locally, we continue to hear of individuals that have made threats, verbally or through social media, that they have a desire to commit some type of violent act within a house of worship. Given today’s threats, houses of worship must be prepared to respond in partnership with local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies. As partners, you must respond together in a seamless, coordinated fashion using the same terminology and approach. All of our training programs incorporate how to interact with emergency first responders.
“Active Shooter” is a phrase used by law enforcement that describes an armed person who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims.
The Active Shooter Awareness for Houses of Worship seminar is designed to bridge the gap between responding law enforcement officers and the representatives of your faith-based organization in an active shooter situation. This seminar will focus on assisting individuals in their ability to: prevent; prepare; report; and protect themselves and their congregants from an active shooter during the critical moments before the arrival of police and what to expect from the officers once they are on scene. It will prepare participants to provide law enforcement officers with the necessary information to properly respond to these extremely difficult situations.
All organizational leaders and members can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations before they occur. This seminar provides the necessary guidance to individuals so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation in the religious setting.
This seminar will include a presentation covering the following areas: Overview and historical examination of active shooter violence in houses of worship; an examination of lessons learned; the differences between the active shooter and hostage taker; behavioral pre-cursors; the concept of leakage; threat assessments; and rapid deployment response by security/public safety personnel.
Religious institutions interested in hosting this seminar are encouraged to contact us to discuss how we can customize the presentation to best meet the needs of your congregation and utilize your current emergency action plan in our presentation.
Critical guidance will be outlined, including strategies to help you and members of your religious institution respond to an active shooter situation. All seminar presenters are active-duty law enforcement officers with specialized instructor certifications and experience in active shooter response training.