Instructor Notes: "Well that just makes me feel uncomfortable"

I’ve never thought about it, before, but I’ve visited many religious institutions over the years, and I can’t recall ever having a fire drill or even a safety brief. I always note primary and alternate egress routes, but not once do I recall someone pointing them out. I guess it would seem awkward the first time a place does it.


I attend a local church which runs about 250 or so regularly before covid. My Pastor and myself out the only 2 who carry in out church that I am aware of, I have mentioned to other men in the church who own guns but no one seems overly concerned about it. After reading your article I am going to see if we can approach the congregation about and emergency evacuation plan, and see if we can get more interest. Reading some replies has given me some ideas. Thanks for the article


I do hope that the locked doors are still available for exit. To lock the doors is okay as long as they can be opened from the inside without a key. To have them locked with no way to get out is not only rather crazy but also very much against the law. You have to have a way to evacuate the building during hours of use.

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Some arguments are, you should have one at the beginning of every service for those visitors who may not be familiar with the plan, exits, and such. I disagree with this as I believe in the, what I call “The herding effect”. When the mass/majority of the people all start running/exiting through a particular door, those not familiar with the “plan” will follow.

@Larry81 I’d be happy to send you the USCCA book Countering the Mass Shooter, and the EOP I’ve developed. I’ll PM you. This will give you some talking points and a head start if you have to present to the elders or administrators.

The exit doors all have slide locks at the top of the door. I’ve told them they MUST have these slide locks disengaged during service, so as the doors can simply be pushed open from the inside.

Iroquois Theatre?

I’m not sure what you mean? Is this a term? Going to google it. :slight_smile:

PS Found it… A good read

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Yes. It’s the reason why we can’t lock exit doors.
Like many things in history, it took a tragedy to create common sense.

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Most state and local laws require door lock systems that utilize a use bar, so people inside can easily exit, even though the door is locked from the outside.

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I’d suggest that this church consult their insurance carrier or local Fire Marshall, about exit door requirements.

Agreed. They are just locked from the outside though. All doors work as an exit, which is good.

I am glad they limit entrances, I just think that’s one piece of the puzzle, and they have more to work on.

They said to me on Sunday, do you think it’s ok with the photo set there thru Christmas so we don’t have to take it down and put it back up, over on the other wall. My reply was, “up to the point of me telling you about it, it was just negligence. Now since you’re aware of the problem and are potentially choosing not to correct it, it could be… “super bad””.

That’s when they said it will be moved by Wednesday (tomorrow).

Thats what our church does. We have crash bars on all doors. So they can all be exits but the only entrance once service starts is the manned front doors will open from the outside. Local first responders are aware that that is the door to respond too.


We now have a sheriff at church out in his car during our church service :pray::pray::pray:

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I have had much of the same attitudes from people. My favorite is, “I don’t carry all the time, I only carry when I think I might need it.”

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A question for those of you who have implemented programs in which you have armed volunteers as a part of the response plan - how have you dealt with church liability insurance issues?

I’ve been involved in discussions in business where the cost to the corporation should staff be armed for the purpose of response to an active shooter (or carrying at all for the matter) are cost prohibitive to the degree that having staff carrying concealed in the offices wasn’t remotely feasible - from that dollar cost perspective.

In my security function I was able to affect stated corporate policy to clearly permit firearms in corporate spaces “with written authorization by ____ [corporate staff]” - which removed the “we are totally a soft target, come on in” signal of “no gun zone” policies. Although to my knowledge, this has never been authorized and no one of us carries or brings firearms into the facility…

I’m not an insurance dude and don’t know what the carrier may say about that.

The churches I have helped don’t bring it up other than with what we’re implementing it does nothing other than saving folks from harm. Would an insurance company pay a claim if there was a mass shooting with or without security??? I’m not sure. If it’s an act of terrorism they would have to have the terrorism umbrella.

But a great question, it would be one for the fine print.

totally agree with you! i had the pleasure of talking with a church group on how to build a security system and with cpl holders willing to attend the meeting. they to were more afraid of how their fellow worshipers were going to react once word got out of the security measures. they also felt comfortable with just one or 2 cpl holders being in church, (cpl training only). needless to say after i covered many topics in regards to security (armed and unarmed variations) and the need for at least once a month training at the range (various courses) , they decided to have another meeting w/o me to advise their members . They also asked me if i would be willing to conduct the training when the time comes1 (no problem). It just seems they finally realized there was a lot more to the security issue then they ever imagined. Which i expected! since covid attack, well, things have stopped right there. but they did get a security cameras put in two locations i recommended (i actually told them more spots) .

In this case I was wondering about the church’s vulnerability to lawsuits from the shooter or shooter’s survivors - and the costs associated with insuring for that… as well as any plus up in coverage and cost because the church uses and/or allows armed congregants either as volunteer security force or at all. (What about the “miss” or an over penetration fired at the active shooter by a good guy/gal that continues past and injures or kills a congregant?)

Currently it doesn’t seem as if insurance providers have done a lot of thinking about church goers suing the church for lack of security OR a shooter or shooter’s survivors suing the church because the active shooter was killed or injured while engaged in shooting others. But I know that when a corporate entity engages any armed security of any kind it shifts the requirements.

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Yup, i told them all about the law suits that happen after a shooting! that was a big eye opener for them! and it scared them of course , which is the usual response!