- FEMA – Faith Resource to Protect Your House of Worship – These no-cost resources are designed to provide faith and community leaders and employers resources to prepare for and mitigate against a natural or manmade emergency or disaster, including an active shooter incident.
- US Department of Homeland Security: Active Shooter Preparedness – Active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident.
- ADLs Community Security Resources
- ADLs Resources for Educators and Parents
- JFNA – Secure Community Network Website
TOP PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS
By Doron Horowitz, National Security Advisor at Secure Community Network (SCN). SCN operates under the auspices of the Jewish Federations of North America and is “dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of the Jewish community through increased awareness, improved protection, enhanced preparedness, and effective response.” The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security recognize SCN as “the official homeland security organization representing the Jewish community in the United States.” Horowitz is Israeli born, served in combat in the IDF.
- DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT. The cornerstone of Jewish institutional security is “a powerful and strong partnership with local law enforcement.” This includes not just knowing the chief of police or station captain but also patrol officers (cops on the beat) because they will come to the facility in an emergency.
- CONVENE A TEAM. A congregation needs “to assemble a small group of people to be a security committee.” The congregation as a whole “must have the difficult conversation about security.” The conversation is not abstract but rather is about the details of how the congregation will react in an emergency such as an active shooter.
- DESIGN AN EVACUATION PLAN. It’s essential for shuls to have a detailed plan for how to get out of a facility if an active shooter, terrorist or other violent person comes in. The shul should prepare the plan with local law enforcement, have them come to the facility, and test run it. Everyone at the shul should know the plan and how to follow it. Although Horowitz didn’t include it as a specific recommendation, implied in the evacuation plan and other recommendations is: TRAINING IN HOW TO REACT IN AN EMERGENCY. This includes such things as running, hiding, calling 911, and confronting an assailant as a last resort. Congregations should have local law enforcement come to the facility, “do a walk-through,” and help the congregation in all aspects of emergency preparedness and planning. In addition, the FBI and DHS offer training programs. For example, the FBI has a program called “Protecting Houses of Worship” (including “active shooter awareness” and “preparedness”). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of DHS, also helps houses of worship develop response plans.
- DESIGN A LOCKDOWN PLAN. This means a plan to lock the main door of a facility (the door that opens to the outside) so no one can get in.
- MAINTAIN ACCESS CONTROL. This means having someone at the main entrance of a facility screening entry of people.
- CREATE A CULTURE OF SECURITY WITHIN ONE’S JEWISH INSTITUTION. This means that the community does not shy away from confronting uncomfortable security issues, has open discussions about worst-case scenarios, plans, knows local law enforcement, trains, and informs its membership about security.
- UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE 911. The key is “rational thinking and level-headedness” and keeping panic in check. The operator needs to know the who, where and what: Who am I who’s calling? Where am I? What’s happening? Knowing how to make an effective 911 call in an emergency such as an active shooter situation takes training.
- WHETHER TO HAVE AN ARMED CONGREGATION? Horowitz expressed great doubt about this approach to security. Among its problems is that, unless trained in tactical shooting in response to a gunman, armed congregants will not act in coordination and will start firing “with utter chaos.” Further, law enforcement are trained to fire at people who are shooting weapons. So if law enforcement come in and see a congregant shooting a weapon, they might “neutralize” him.Horowitz urges that congregations be crystal clear about their policy. If it is no firearms, say it. This should not be left to individual congregants to decide on their own. Learn More.
- ACKNOWLEDGE THE DIVERSITY OF YOUR CONGREGATION. Learn More.