BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – It is important to protect yourself at school or in your place of worship. No matter where you are, a local organization called ‘Protect your home‘ teaches the community how to respond in a firefight, in hopes of saving lives.
“Right now we have a world where it seems to be on the verge of chaos,” said John Poitras, police officer and Protect His House instructor. In the United States, incidents, including shootings, rose nearly 35% in churches, synagogues, temples and mosques between 2014 and 2018, according to FBI hate crime statistics.
For this reason, places of worship are strengthening their security measures.
“On Monday last week we had an incident,” said Scott Parker, who is part of his church’s security team in the Birmingham area. He says he wants his team to be ready for anything.
“No one on the security team has received any training,” Parker said. Protect His House is an organization that teaches teams and individuals how to assess their situation, develop an action plan and intervene.
“I think it’s important for us to go there and form ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t matter what church you go to. If you are Muslim, [go to a] Mormon Church…we need to stand up, protect ourselves and be ready,” Poitras said.
They teach tactics, response and threat assessment.
“The very first thing you may need to do is run. Everyone knows how to run. But where to go? We are going to talk about exits in a building. It does not matter [if it is] in a church…it could be at Walmart, have you ever thought about hanging out at Walmart? Every Walmart bakery or kitchen will have an outlet. Any restaurant will have an exit,” Poitras said.
Training will become your first nature when you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
“When you have an emergency, you’re not going to be up to par, you’re going to fall in your training,” Poitras said.
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