Local group offers training for active shooter situations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -It is important to protect yourself in school or at your place of worship. No matter where you are, a local organization called ‘Protect His House’ is teaching the community how to respond during a shooting, hoping to save lives.
“Right now we’ve got a world where it seems like it’s borderline chaos,” said police officer and Protect His House instructor John Poitras. In the U.S., incidents, including shootings, have increased in churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques by nearly 35 percent from 2014 to 2018, according to FBI hate crime statistics.
Because of that, places of worship are upping their security measures.
“Monday of last week, we had an incident,” said Scott Parker, who is a part of the security team at his church in the Birmingham area. He says he wants his team to be ready for anything.
“Nobody in the security team has had any kind of training,” Parker said. Protect His House is an organization that teaches teams and individuals how to assess their situation, make an action plan, and intervene.
“I think that it’s important for us to get out there and train as brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t matter what church you go to. If you’re Muslim, [go to a] Mormon church... we need to stand up and protect ourselves and be ready,” Poitras said.
They teach about tactics, response, and threat assessment.
“The very first thing you may have to do is run. Everyone knows how to run. But where to? We’re going to talk about exits in a building. It doesn’t matter [if it is] in a church setting...it could be in Walmart, have you ever thought about the exits in Walmart? Every Walmart bakery or kitchen is going to have an exit. Any restaurant is going to have an exit,” Poitras said.
The training will become first nature when you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
“When you have an emergency situation, you’re not going to rise to the occasion, you’re going to fall to the level of your training,” Poitras said.
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