church security

Planning, Protocols & Persistence Saves Lives

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Protocols, training and persistence saved the lives of countless children at Rancho Tehama Elementary School in Corning, California. Another lunatic gunman began selecting seemingly random targets to kill in an apparent psychotic rage.  He eventually set his sights on entering the elementary school at the Rancho Tehama Reserve but that attempt was thwarted by the simple yet effective decision to place the school on lockdown. 

In the active shooter incident at Columbine High School, not a single locked door was penetrated by the shooters.  Further proof that something so simple can be so effective during an active shooter incident.  These gunmen typically come prepared to create the maximum amount of carnage with a large amount of ammunition and weaponry.  However, they typically do not come prepared, physically or mentally, to breach locked or fortified doors.  I often reiterate that these active shooters seek maximum carnage AND MINIMUM RESISTANCE.  The gunman in this case met immediate resistance at the school and immediately chose another path for his rampage. 

Faculty members reported hearing gunfire approximately a quarter mile away from the school and immediately took action.  Their training and protocols instantly took over and allowed their brains to process the noise as gunfire instead of fireworks as is so often the case. 

Many times our brains immediately try and process certain stimuli from our environment as something familiar and safe instead of processing it as something more sinister and unsafe.  What allows our brains to process these things correctly is training and planning in advance.  It is very difficult, if not almost impossible, for our brains to recall anything complicated during a critical incident.  Simply put, our stress response won’t allow it.  However, previous planning and training allows us to overcome several of our bodies’ stress responses during a traumatic event.  This is exactly how police officers and soldiers are able to operate successfully in the most critical and traumatic situations.  Many times they do not have time to think, they must simply respond to whatever they are faced with instantaneously with no time to process what they are seeing, hearing or feeling. 

I cannot reiterate this enough: ALL schools, churches, and businesses need to have a plan to deal with critical incidents and potential intruders.  Having a plan is a phenomenal start, however you must also PRACTICE that plan.  The goal is to practice it enough that your brain and your body will both respond to an event instead of simply reacting.  A response is typically pre-planned where a reaction is simply a moment in time reflection of what your brain is processing at that moment. 

In today’s world of lunatic psychopaths gunning down multiple random victims, it is time to shift our focus.  Instead of trying to predict the where and when of the next attack, we must focus on hardening potential targets as well as a implementing a planned response.  We would all love to have a solution to stop the next mass casualty incident but we all know that is not the reality.  These attacks will undoubtedly continue and we all have a responsibility to focus more on the safety and security of our schools, churches, homes and businesses.

To learn more about obtaining a security evaluation, training for a critical incident, or strengthening the security of your school, church, or business, please visit our website at www.defendsystems.com or give us a call at 615-236-6484.  We are passionate about helping all organizations achieve real security.

5 Things Every Church Should Do To Improve Security

Tennessee church shooting leaves one dead, several wounded, officials say. That was the headline on Sunday, September 24, 2017. According to police the masked gunman shot and killed one female in the parking lot and then entered the sanctuary where he began shooting people indiscriminately. One Church member, a 22 year old usher, was able to respond by physically confronting the gunman, during which, the gunman received a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest. That member then went to his car in the parking lot, retrieved his own weapon, and headed back into the church where he held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. Clearly things could and would have been much worse if not for the heroic and selfless action of that young man.

At this point we don't know what motivated the gunman to carry out this heinous attack. However, does the “why” really matter? The answer is no. We could spend days and days trying to figure out why these happen and trying to predict when and where another one may occur, only to come up short. We all have to go beyond asking ourselves why and adjust to the reality that these types of mass casualty incidents are on the rise and we have to accept the fact that we must do something to prepare for them. 

HERE ARE FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY CHURCH SHOULD DO TO IMPROVE THEIR SECURITY. 

1) Form a security team. Hopefully your church already has some sort of security team but if not, now is the time more than ever. More than likely these crazed gunmen are not going to target the large mega church that has three uniformed police officers sitting outside. They likely select their targets based on their ability to carry out as much carnage as possible. Having an obvious and visible security presence is critical.

2) Get a threat assessment and security evaluation done for your particular facility. Every church building and property is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to achieving physical security. Hiring a professional to evaluate your facility can make all the difference when it comes to critical incidents.

3) Develop plans and protocols. Your team needs specific plans and protocols in place to be truly effective. Every man for himself is not a plan. What are the preventative measures and protocols going to be and who is responsible for them? What are the teams’ specific roles should an intruder enter the building? These are all things that need to be nailed down in advance.

4) Conduct training. Training and repetition is what makes soldiers and police officers so effective at their respective jobs. They face situations daily where they must take decisive action immediately upon encountering a threat when there is no time to stop and think. They do this by relying on their training so that when the time comes they don’t simply react, they respond.  

5) Be vigilant and consistent. Do not take for granted that another member of your team has already checked the south parking lot, or has secured a particular door, etc. Do not get complacent about your plans and protocols. Consistency can save lives, complacency kills.  

If you want to learn more about strengthening the security presence at your church or business, go to  our website or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping organizations achieve real security in this dangerously developing world.