TUCSON, Ariz. -- Just over a week ago, six people were stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration inside a rabbi's home in New York.
The suspect is now facing hate crime charges; and one day later in Texas, a gunman opened fire inside a church-- killing two people before a security team shot and killed him.
Here in Tucson, two volunteer based organizations are giving faith based communities free active shooter response training.
Christopher Taylor, a director with the Arizona Church Security Network (AZCSN), and Bruce Whitney, a director with ICSAVE (Integrated Community Solutions To Active Violence Events) are working together to educate the Arizona community.
The training prepares folks to be immediate responders and gives them skills to be able to survive the first several minutes of an active killer event.
“Unfortunately churches are no longer the sanctuary they once were,” said Taylor.
Taylor adds that, since 1999 there have been 1706 deadly force incidents in churches in this country.
A fact, Whitney with ICSAVE says is heartbreaking. However, he states it is something that should empower people to get educated and be prepared.
“It’s a scary thing to think about, but if you can actually provide people with knowledge, skills, and abilities to be able to address those types of events when they take place, now they know that they do something,”
Both organizations are made up of former law enforcement, corrections, military, and public safety experts.
They go to places of worship and do free credentialed training to educate the community.
“When we come in with ICSave, a lot of times, they will present the bleeding control training and we’ll assist them, and then we’ll present the violent intruder response training and they’ll assist us with that,” Taylor told KGUN9.
A typical training includes role play, learning proper lockdown and evacuation procedures, and a full range of first responder classes.
Both Taylor and Whitney say the average session can last anywhere from six to eight hours.
CPR, first aid, all hazards first aid, are also offered during these training sessions.
Taylor and Whitney also stresses that knowing what to do in an active shooter situations makes all the difference.
“Because absent training we have a tendency to do one of three things, we’ll either run away, we’ll fight...more often than not when we lack training, we literally, we vapor-lock because we just don’t know what to do,” said Whitney.
So, they say if you can, take advantage of this training because during an active shooter situation, they say we all have to be able to rely on each other.
“Community is family and we have the ability to deliver the training at a faith based organization at no cost,” added Whitney.
Tayor tells KGUN he is sure this training is going to not only empower and educate people, but also continue making a positive difference in the community.
“There is no doubt in my mind this training saves lives,” said Taylor.
The organizations will be having their next training session on January 11th, at Living Hope Family Church.
7333 E 22nd Street
Tucson, AZ 85710
For more information about the Arizona Church Security Network, click here.
For more information about ICSAVE, click here.