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June 20, 2013

White House to Churches: Run, Hide, or Fight an Active Shooter

Six-agency report provides help with forming teams, assessing risks

Our sister site ChristianityToday.com's "Gleanings" gives a quick recap today of the White House's first-ever emergency operating plan for houses of worship.

The free plan, created by six government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, covers how to create an emergency preparedness team and assess potential risks and hazards, including natural disasters and active-shooter scenarios. Regarding the latter, Abby Stocker notes in "Gleanings":

(T)he White House has--for the first time--told churches and other houses of worship how they should respond to a gunman.
The most interesting detail: Encouragement to not only run and hide, but to fight back as a last resort.

Watch for future updates regarding the plan's recommendations and how they square with the planning and prevention efforts that churches should make. In the meantime, the following resources also can further aid those efforts:

Earlier this year we also looked at the 2012 reported incidences of violent criminal activity at houses of worship and ministries.

Related Tags: church building, danger, guns, insurance, liability, property, Richard Hammar, risk, risk management, safety, security, shooter, vulnerabilities


I am a concealed carry permit holder and the pastor of a church in a rural area of Kansas. Much of the time that I am in the church building I am armed. Hopefully I will never have to use a weapon at church, but if there is a necessity hopefully I will either be able to get to a weapon quickly and use it in a safe manner. Since our church is small (usually under 50 in attendance on Sunday morning) much of the time I am alone in the church building and the nearest police/sheriff base is about 18 miles away. Therefore neither I nor the church can count on police protection is a crisis type situation. Very likely it would take at least 15-20 minutes for law enforcement to arrive at the scene.

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