PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The parking lot at Bethel Church in Blackwood, New Jersey neared capacity Monday evening, filled with those who were ready and willing to face a worst-case scenario.
Back on Nov. 5, 26 people were killed and 20 people injured when a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
It is the most recent massacre carried out within a place of worship. It is also the reason why 1,500 miles away from that site in Texas, the faces of lives lost were displaced and hundreds of residents and clergy members attended an active shooter training seminar that focused on church safety.
“I think that perhaps churches were something that people felt safe in and they should,” said Gloucester Township Chief of Police Harry Earle. “I think with some of the events that have happened it’s made them feel a little bit vulnerable.”
Pastor Joyce Warrington traveled to the seminar from Dover, Delaware, explaining that she felt she owed it to her congregation to come.
“I am very encouraged because the tools they are giving us, I can take that back home to my chief of police and I want him to start a program in our city,” she said.
So what was the seminars takeaway?
In the event of an active shooter situation in a confined space specialists urged attendees prepare themselves with the “Run, Hide, Fight” principle.
Law Enforcement advised that if a deadly situation unfolds, first RUN if you can:
– Don’t let the indecision of others slow you down.
– Run away in a zig-zag pattern in order to cut down on a shooter’s accuracy.
– Once outside and safe, warn others nearby of the danger.
– Call police and be descriptive.
If you can’t run, HIDE:
– Act quickly and quietly
– Silence your phone.
– Lock doors if able.
– Make a barricade out of furniture.
As a last resort, FIGHT:
– Act with aggression.
– Throw things at the gunman and yell.
– Improvise weapons such as scissors or a fire extinguisher.
– Commit to taking down the shooter no matter what.
– Chose to survive.