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We spoke with security experts about the best ways places of worship can stay secure

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 19:16:33-05

WKBW — There's been no credible threats to any houses of worship in our area, but officials remain vigilant when it comes to maintaining and updating security measures for members of any faith. The closer look at security at places of worship comes following an attack at a rabbi's home outside New York City and a shooting at a church in Texas.

Jewish organizations across the Buffalo area have been stepping up security through Jewish Federation's the Secure Jewish Buffalo initiative.

"The shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue last October in Pittsburgh is what sparked everything," said Andrew Gewurz, the President of Temple Beth Tzedek in Amherst.

Since then the temple has had threat assessments done and has implemented all of the recommendations. In addition, the temple has done active shooter drills and recently held a "stop the bleed" training session for its members so they could learn what to do if people were hurt in an attack.

The Jewish Federation is working with a number of synagogues on security and is partnered with law enforcement.

Another attack on the Jewish community last spring, led to a new security measure at the temple, armed guards at every service.

David Ditullio with Defensor Incorporated has worked with about 15-20 churches in Western New York on how to stay secure. This includes everything from training armed guards to tying tourniquets if people are severely injured. Ditullio said there are safety measures places of worship can take using personnel they already have.

"Knowing what to look for outside of the church, and as they're greeting people inside," he said. "So we utilize ushers and people who are in those positions."

Ditullio said a key safety measure, "prevention is better than reaction."