A warning from Shelby County officials to local churches and other faith-based organizations.
They need to be on high alert after Holy Week began with bomb blasts in Egypt.
Now many local religious leaders are on alert, and many of them told us they’d had increased security for some time.
They say they’re extra vigilant this week because it’s not the time for slip-ups.
The Shelby County Office of Preparedness Director Dale Lane sent out this message to the public urging faith-based organizations to be on high alert during Holy Week.
“We are not trying to instill panic,” said Lane. “We’re just reminding people to stay vigilant in their day-to-day lives.”
Especially after the two deadly Palm Sunday attacks on Christian churches in Egypt.
Pastor Michael C. Ellis of Impact Ministries says he’s made security a priority at his church and uses this surveillance system.
“You want to have your team, your security team watching out for unusual visitors you’re not familiar with and engage them and be normal with them,” said Ellis.
The Office of Preparedness suggests these safety tips for churches.
· Develop an emergency operations plan.
· Reach out! Collaborate with law enforcement .
· Stay vigilant! Be aware of your surroundings.
· Have two escape routes out of each room.
And Lane suggests using the Run, Hide, Fight Active Shooter Maneuver.
– RUN / ESCAPE: Run! Leave belongings behind.
– HIDE: If you cannot run, hide! Close, barricade the door. Silence phones.
– FIGHT: Fight as a last resort. Be aggressive!
“It’s not to make people afraid,” said Lane. “It’s just to have some tools in your toolbox and hopefully we’ll be safe.”