PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The recent mass shootings in Texas, Ohio, and California have left more than 30 people dead. It also hits close to home with the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Squirrel Hill.
More than 150 people met at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church to go over proactive ways to deal with armed intruders. They also learned drills if an armed intruder gets into the building.
“First and foremost it’s horrific,” East Liberty Presbyterian Member Thomas Morton told KDKA. “That tragedy impacted all of us. Ok, how can we do things in the future to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Morton was one of the people who gathered from various religious groups and schools to learn the drills and tactics.
“Twenty years ago we didn’t talk about it as much, but it is the day we live in today, unfortunately,” Richard Dorman of Church Mutual Insurance.
The presentations and drills lasted for about five hours. Some simple measures could be just locking doors after service starts to limit accessibility to the building and just be aware of what’s going on.
“They want to invite people in, and so it’s kind of a dichotomy for them. They want to protect everyone but at the same time they want to be welcoming,” Dorman said.
Experts recommend using the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) method if a shooter gets into the building.
“The faster start taking back control and doing something about it, the lower those casualty numbers become,” Brandon Rhone of ALICE Training Institute said.
Morton said the group setting allows for everyone to exchange what they do and what works well and what other groups can do better. All of them hope these precautions and trainings never have to be used.
“If people are going to gather for worship, they could gather peacefully. They could gather without harm,” Morton said.