Authorities offer emergency training for local churches

Posted at 12:09 PM, Feb 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-20 12:09:58-05

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — Hundreds of people gathered at Grace Community Church Saturday morning to attend an emergency training session put on by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

It’s a common misconception that violence does not happen at church. That’s met with the harsh reality that bad things can happen anywhere.

The workshop is focusing on all types of hazards like security, preparedness, active shooter situations, fires, tornadoes, and more.

Officials say they’re holding these sessions because of the surprising number of churches that have been targeted in the past.

Captain Valerie Wiess with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department says 160 incidents have happened from 2001 to 2013… and they’ve continued to grow in numbers each year.

While many think of churches as a safe haven, officials stress the importance of being prepared for an emergency, no matter where you are.

Wiess says that people will be able to react much more quickly then if they’re not prepared… adding that it takes approximately three minutes for police to respond to a situation.

In addition, Wiess says the victims actually involved in the situation are the ‘first responders’ and what they do in those first few moments makes a big difference.