A church security plan and emergency preparedness are critical as we carry out operations at Ascension. Today's reality is that places of worship are just as vulnerable to active shooter events as schools and businesses. The Ascension staff recently participated in an “Active Shooter Training” offered by the Dallas Police Department. It focused on and prioritized three effective responses to danger: Run, hide, and fight. Below is more detail about each of these defenses and how best to implement them. RUN: Your first and best option is to run away from the shooter or threat if possible. Take others with you if you are able, and do not stop moving away. If you reach the parking lot, get in your car and leave. You are better able to help others once you reach safety. Call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. HIDE: If running away is not an option, hide in a nearby space. Most often, shooters are looking for easy and obvious targets, so even hiding under a table can prevent you from becoming a target. FIGHT: Finally, if you are unable to run or hide, then fight. As with each option, you must commit as fully as possible. Do not stop fighting; do not worry about fighting fair. Use whatever you can to fight back. The police emphasized that these basic defenses can be applied wherever we are - not just at Ascension. While these fundamentals are fairly common sense, I believe it is helpful to know the priority of each. Further, I believe it was helpful for the staff to receive training together, for it generated conversations about how to actualize this within our spaces, both during the week and on Sundays. We will share some of these observations with other leaders in the parish as we implement a variety of recommendations from the safety committee that was assembled to assess our campus last year. I pray we do not experience life-threatening situations but am reassured knowing we can be prepared to defend ourselves should any arise. Be safe, trust your intuition, watch out for each other, and may God continue to bless you this Lenten season.