FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Valley church leaders are learning to protect themselves and parishioners during an active shooter threat.
On Saturday, dozens took part in a training at the West Side Church of God in Fresno.
“We live in a very violent society now and because of that you need to know everything that you possibly can for survival,” said Audrey Redmond with West Fresno Ministerial Alliance.
The training, organized by West Fresno Ministerial Alliance and Assemblyman Jim Patterson, had pastors and parishioners from around the Valley participating in several scenarios, from lock-downs to learning how to use fire extinguishers as weapons.
“We need to be prepared and so, uh, the more training we get, the more active we are in the training is good,” said Fernando Rubio, a church member at First Armenian Presbyterian Church.
The training provided by Knowledge Saves Lives, a Merced-based company, made up of former and current law enforcement officers.
“There are no real safe places anymore, it used to be communities and churches, we felt more comfortable and we would let our guard down, now we have to have a heighten level of awareness,” said Preston Jelen with the Knowledge Saves Lives.
That awareness comes into play in schools, businesses, and churches. Jelen says the training teaches people what to do if an active shooter situation occurs.
“We at least need to be aware of who’s coming and going, where our exits are and what kind of plans or preparations we have prior to the event,” he said.
Organizers say they believe this training is particularly vital for smaller churches.
“They don’t have the membership or the knowledge and this would be a good thing for the churches to hear and to be able to put their own safety together for their own churches,” said Redmond.