Church leaders in Washington prepare for worst - coming face to face with an active shooter

SEATTLE — Religious leaders from across Washington gathered Wednesday at the Crossroads Bible Church to train on how to respond to an armed intruder.

The event is a collaboration between ALICE Training Institute and Church Mutual Insurance Company.

Former police officer Brandon Rhone now travels the country as a trainer with ALICE.

He trains everyone from members of religious institutions to public school students on how to boost their odds of survival when coming face to face with active shooters.

“When people freeze in that moment of decision making, that's when we see that high level of fatalities and casualties,” said Rhone. “Remove yourself from dangerous location or render that location no longer dangerous”.

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Rhone said with the recent mass shootings nationwide, the more critical it is for people to learn to protect themselves.

The main lesson: increasing situational awareness. Things like remembering to call 911, to spotting the safest routes to escape, and using things around you to block a shooter and delaying them from firing at victims.

“A desk, a chair, a book, my shoes,” said Rhone, “When we start talking about violent critical incidents everything has to become an option.”

Rhone thinks of this like a fire drill, to get people thinking proactively.

Church leaders took it all in but say they hope they'll never need to use what they learned here.

“For us the significance is valuing life,” said Mark Grotte, Executive Director of Crossroads Bible Church. "It can happen anywhere. We would be blind to pretend it doesn't happen. Our desire is to be prepared to engage appropriately and of course save as many lives as possible.”