Toolkit helps houses of worship prep responses if attacked

Posted at 10:47 AM, Jan 01, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio officials have developed a free, online toolkit to help houses of worship discuss and prepare for how they would respond if they were attacked.

The toolkit provides guidance for tabletop preparedness exercises that can be used for congregations of various sizes, from large synagogues to small, rural churches, said Sima Merick, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

"Ohioans should feel comfortable and safe when they gather to worship," Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said in the toolkit announcement from the EMA. "As attacks on houses of worship continue to escalate, it is incumbent on our religious institutions to be prepared."

The announcement this week came days after a man fatally shot two people at a Texas church and was killed by a member of its volunteer security team.

Ohio officials also offer exercise-planning toolkits to help shopping malls and college campuses prepare for responding to an active shooter.