WESTMORELAND, N.Y. - In a place where most go to find peace, parishioners of the Westmoreland United Methodist Church were asked to imagine the exact opposite Tuesday night.
New York State Troopers held an active shooter training at the church and the entire community was invited to attend.
More than 100 people packed the pews to learn more about the safest practices during a potentially deadly situation.
"I am here to better learn how to protect my kids," Laura Jandreau, a teacher with Small Blessings preschool said. "You know, we can run drills and all of that, but it's just better to have as much knowledge as possible."
"Everybody's worried about shooters in public places," Judy Staffer, a parishioner said. "If there's anything that I should know, I'd like to know it."
The information, presented by Trooper Brian DeRochie, introduced a three-tier approach referred to as "Run-Hide-Fight."
DeRochie said that's the order one should follow when faced with violence. He added that people should pay close attention to their surroundings in order to plan an escape route, find a hiding spot, and as a last resort, improvise tools to fight.
"Cell phones, certainly they're good tools, but they're also liabilities," DeRochie said. "Keeping your head on a swivel at all times."
"What can I use that's around me to help prevent that person from shooting someone else and shooting myself?" Trooper Jack Keller said. "We suggest, like anything else, even a bank robbery, to be the best witness possible."
This was the first time church administrators hosted an active shooter training. After the high turnout, administrators announced on the church's Facebook page that another training will be planned for fall.
"In our day and age, we don't want it to be, but this is something they need to know about and how to handle these situations," Christine Golden, one of the church trustees said.
Troopers also discussed shooter terminology and how to act when police arrive on the scene of a shooting.
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