CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s a situation you hope you never find yourself in. But sadly, for some those attending church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Charleston, South Carolina, it became reality.

About 250 people, including many church leaders, attended the two-hour “House of Worship Safety Seminar” put on by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Tuesday morning.

“We are all concerned about the safety of our members in our congregations,” said St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Pastor Michael Frye.

CMPD said the average active shooter event lasts for about 12 minutes. About 69 percent of these events last less than five minutes.

CMPD said the average police response time is five minutes. And how about this? The average response for the SWAT team? Fifty minutes. And that long length of time is what makes being prepared the most important advice CMPD can give you.

“I think it’s certainly important for the members of the congregation to know that their main priority is to save themselves,” Frye said. “But then we also are aware that you have to stop a shooter.”

Police shared the ABC’s to surviving an active shooter event:

  • “A” stands for “avoid.” Have an exit plan.
  • “B” is for “barricade.” Lock the door. Use your foot and objects to make it harder to open.
  • “C” is for “counter.” Take action if the shooter is in the same room.
  • And finally “S” is to tell yourself you’re going to survive.

“There were three of us from St. Mark’s today who are going back and forming a task force to work out a safety plan for the congregation,” Frye said.

CMPD said they will come and do this House of Worship Safety Seminar for free if you give them a call at 704-336-2310.