FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Prayer is being backed-up by preparation at a Fresno church. Employees are put on the spot as they map out a plan to save themselves in the event their church comes under attack. They are learning about how to deal with everything from a mentally unstable person to an active shooter walking in.
In the middle of listening to a speaker employees at the Seventh Day Adventist Conference Offices were thrown into an unexpected crisis.
"We had a guy come in with a mask on, with an orange tip gun, and was trying to hold up the place and pointing his gun at everyone, and they were actually afraid. So we make everything spontaneous. Everything is at that instant," said Gregg Sanders, MJAAG Consultant.
Immediately they stepped into action after hearing, during a practice scenario, that an armed suspect was 30 seconds away and heading toward their building. Each exercise prepares the class for situations they could encounter. This time, they were told to barricade windows and doors, close all blinds, hunker down, and turn off their phones.
The group also prepared for an active shooter scenario.
"Just to see their reactions and people are hollering, we had people run outside the door trying to get away, actually thinking it was real," said Sanders.
Students also learn about how to be a good witness and ways to work as a team during stressful situations.
"I think some of the exercises that they went through have raised the consciousness of, this person has stated, well, I'm not a fighter and we know who the leaders are. That's one thing that's coming out very true is the leadership aspect when a crisis happens. Who will step forward," said David Hudgens, Central Ca Conference VP.
Last month, a man who church workers believe was mentally unstable ran into the Clovis Conference asking for help and hollering. Another aspect of the training is how to talk a person down while waiting for police.
Church leaders hope the training also equips their employees to help the community if any situation should come up where their knowledge can be beneficial.