The Rev. Hollie Tapley has been conducting active shooter trainings in churches for the past year and a half.
When 26 people — including eight children and teenagers — were shot and killed when a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the calls for trainings grew.
Tapley, who is the disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains United Methodist Conference, will offer training in Wichita on Dec. 3. Churches that are not members of the United Methodist Church are also invited.
“It’s such an important matter, unfortunately,” Tapley said. “You hate to say that we even have to talk about active shooter awareness and active shooter training. … We need to know a loving, practical way to try to save lives and to be proactive, to know what to do.”
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Tapley said research shows that working through a plan beforehand helps people to not freeze in an emergency. In the training, she’ll work through “run, hide and fight” scenarios, including some simple tips:
- Don’t take belongings with you when running
- Use pews for cover
- Turn your cell phone off when hiding
- Throw “whatever you got” at the shooter as a last resort
She often tells women that their pocketbook is the best weapon when there’s no other choice to fight. Bibles and hymnals? She’s sure God is OK with throwing those at a shooter too.
“It’s a disaster we don’t want to happen, but it could,” Tapley said. “So it’s my role as a clergy and as a person who has the passion for human beings to do this.”
The training is 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive. The training is free, but registration is required at https://gp-reg.brtapp.com/Activeshootertraining. The training will also be live-streamed at Chapel Hill’s website.
Strategos International will also offer a two-day church training in Wichita at First Church of the Nazarene on March 2 and 3. More information for that training is available at https://intruderresponse.com/schedule-2/.