By Reporter staff
The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton, in conjunction with the Broome County Council of Churches, will hold a security seminar for faith-based organizations on Thursday, May 12, from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Jewish Community Center, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal. Representatives from public safety agencies will discuss ways the faith-based community can protect its houses of worship and keep its members safe while sustaining an open and welcoming environment. Reservations are required and can be made here.
The training will include:
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis with an intelligence brief about threats to the faith-based community.
- Broome County Sheriff’s Office on the active shooter response, “Run, Hide, Fight.”
- Broome County Office of Emergency Services with a “Stop The Bleed” presentation.
- New York State Police Counter Terrorism Investigation Unit on Rrcognizing and reporting suspicious activity.
- New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Service on the Non-Profit Security Grant Program process.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on how to get started with security and emergency preparedness, and how to get help.
- A question-and-answer period.
“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen over the past few years, acts of violence against houses of worship are a real problem,” said Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Federation. “We have to be prepared for the possibility that one of our local houses of worship might be targeted. We need to learn ways to both prevent that from happening and how to minimize the effects if it does.”
According to ABC News, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a warning in January that “faith-based communities have been and will ‘likely’ be the target of violence ‘by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists.’” The warning was issued after the hostage situation at a Colleyville, TX, synagogue.
“I pray that we never have to face what occurred in Texas or at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Hubal added. “But increasing our security and knowing how to handle these situations is the best way forward. I have attended a virtual security training and I feel more confident in my ability to react appropriately should, God forbid, an act of violence occur.”