How to survive an Active Shooter Situation – Churches
- • So far in the 21st century, an average of 552 work-related homicides occurred annually in the U.S. – National
Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence.
• 176 deadly force incidents were documented nationwide at churches and faith-based organizations in 2014. –
Church Law and Tax.
• 98% of Active Shooter incidents are one individual. – NYPD.
• Numerous organizations including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of
Education, the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police
(IACP) agree that a one-option approach (i.e. lockdown) is not sufficient. Staff and Members need to have
multiple options at their disposal (Run, Hide, Fight, etc.).
- The folks at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina had no
training or procedures in place for an active shooter situation. On the evening of June 17, 2015, during a
prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C.
Pinckney; a tenth victim survived.
- • February 14, 2010 – Richmond, California – Three hooded men walk into Gethsemane Church of God in
Christ and opened fire and then fled the scene, as the singing of the choir was replaced by frightened screams.
The two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man, were hospitalized.
- Dec. 9, 2007 – Colorado – Three people are killed and five wounded in two shooting rampages, one at a
missionary school in suburban Denver and one at a church in Colorado Springs.
• The Daingerfield church shooting was a mass murder that occurred at the First Baptist Church in
Daingerfield, Texas, United States on June 22, 1980. A former high school teacher, armed with a scoped,
semi-automatic AR-15, an M1 carbine, and two revolvers, killed five people and wounded 10 others.
Plan of Action Needed
Churches must become pro-active, not reactive, in making staff and church members aware of key principles that
will empower them to make life-saving decisions in the heat of the moment that will buy time and save lives. As
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Preventing an active shooter situation is impossible. There is no demographic or profile that will predict where the
next situation might occur. However, when lightning strikes, your staff must be able to respond with simple steps to
keeping themselves safe. It requires building a culture of people who have a mental awareness to their surroundings
and clearly defined action steps. Properly training staff is a necessary component in empowering them to know what
Common sense is not common knowledge. The body cannot go where the mind has never been. All we need to be
able to do is buy time before law enforcement arrives to end the situation. How do you properly break a window?
How do you a barricade a door that swings into the hallway? Entirely possible and easy to do, but it simply requires
We can’t stop a lawsuit from arriving after an active situation occurs. However, by having a plan in place and
making training available to staff and members, the risk associated with a lawsuit is mitigated.
This cutting-edge, violence-saturated world that we now live in has created problems and pains that we have never
had to deal with in previous generations. We must respond with cutting-edge, dynamic solutions in order to mitigate
our risk associated with these problems.
These principles are life principles that every person needs to know for the rest of their lives.
The following items have been specifically designed by our company to facilitate a culture shift in your church as
you seek to address these issues.
Training Will Cover: (1-4 hour sessions are customizable)
• How to Survive an Active Shooter Training
• Case studies of previous shootings and the lessons we can learn from the past
• Overview of the Alert, Run, Hide, Fight principles for survival, endorsed by the Department of
• Alert: Notify 911 and the members of the church immediately of the situation at hand through all
available communication devices.
• Run: If possible, get out of harm’s way. Get to safety. Learn how to properly break a window.
• Hide: If you don’t have information about the shooter’s whereabouts, learn how to barricade doors
that open out.
• Fight: If the shooter walks into your room then you must be prepared to disrupt his thought process
and buy time. Learn simple tactics to increase your chance of survival.
• Handouts provided for Attendees
Training is customizable to the uniqueness of your church/members. A session can be 1 to 4 hours in length,
depending the level of detail, drills, and discussion that is provided. It is recommended that training be held as
mandatory for all staff and as many members as possible.
Additionally, refresher courses are recommended for new staff and new members annually.