Utah Synagogue Trains for Active Shooter Following Pittsburgh Mass Shooting

Utah Synagogue Trains for Active Shooter Following Pittsburgh Mass Shooting

Congregants at the largest Jewish synagogue in Utah participate in active shooter training.

As a direct result of the mass shooting that occurred at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27, Jewish communities around the country are looking for ways to better secure their facilities and educate their congregants on how to face an active shooter situation. 

For instance, Utah's largest Jewish synagogue, Congregation Kol Ami, hosted a "Run, Hide, Fight" in order to train members of the synagogue on how to respond if an active shooter opened fire in the facility. 

Kol Ami was spurred to organize the active shooter training when they heard the news of the 11 deaths in Pittsburgh. The incident was the deadliest assault on Jews in United States history and sparked increased security, patrols and training in Jewish synagogues, schools and other facilities. 

“It is unfortunate that we must be here today for this purpose, but it is a reflection of the times that we currently live in,” said Rabbi Sam Spector, the leader of the congregation, in his opening remarks at the training.

Michael Masters, the national director and chief executive officer for Secure Community Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to homeland security initiatives to ensure the safety of Jewish institutions and communities across the United States, believes the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was a wake-up call for many Jewish congregations.

"One of the greatest obstacles to the security of Jewish institutions is the belief that an event cannot happen, or will not happen in our own community," Masters said. "Pittsburgh showed many people that these events can happen in our own institutions, that that reality is not unimaginable."

The Kol Ami congregants worked together with two officers from the Utah Highway Patrol Training Division. They mapped out best courses of action, where to hide and assigned emergency roles in the case of an active shooter. 

In addition to the active shooter training, Kol Ami has decided to hire security guards to monitor the building. 

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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