BY JESSICA ANDERSON
Since the community launched its security program four years ago, some of you have taken at least one of the three primary courses offered by Secure Community Network, the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America. These courses are: Introduction to Situational Awareness, Countering Active Threat Training and Stop the Bleed.
I’m happy to report that all these classes have been updated and improved. I now offer the new versions locally, and SCN hosts them on national webinars.
Two new classes teach how to respond in a hostage situation and safety while traveling internationally.
SCN recently announced a new national training webinar series designed to prepare and protect Jewish community members. The webinars are designed to educate the community on trainings that have been proven effective in preventing or mitigating the severity of real-life incidents in recent history. During these trainings, SCN plans to commemorate victims and survivors and feature guest speakers who were directly impacted by previous attacks.
I know it can be hard to revisit some of these painful memories, and some may wonder why we continue to bring them up. The truth is we can learn from these events, and we must remember that we can improve our outcomes in an emergency. It’s easy to say you’ll probably never need this training. No one ever thinks they’re going to be in a critical incident, and yet people find themselves in them every day.
The SCN series includes four separate training sessions centered around days of action like Stop The Bleed Month, observed in May, and commemorating significant attacks against the Jewish community. These include the Overland Park shooting in Kansas City, the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the armed hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.
“This training series will reflect back on moments that impacted the Jewish community and look forward by applying important lessons in safety and preparation that will equip and empower the Jewish community to respond to future attacks,” says SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters. “We can never know when the next attack will occur, but we can control our readiness and preparation.”
The first in the series was a Stop the Bleed training held May 18 in recognition of National Stop the Bleed Month. During the training, SCN commemorated the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting in which three people died. Severe bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death after injury. Training the community to know how to act quickly to stop the bleeding will undoubtedly save lives during an attack.
Dates will be forthcoming for the following trainings:
• BeAware training to commemorate the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting in which six people were shot. BeAware is an interactive training designed to improve the ability of members of the Jewish community to recognize and react to dangerous situations in their everyday lives.
• CATT training to commemorate the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. CATT, or Countering Active Threat Training, will equip participants with knowledge on how to survive and respond to active threats.
• Surviving Hostage Incidents training will commemorate the Congregation Beth Israel hostage-taking in Colleyville, Texas. The training will provide practical security tips and techniques on how to survive a hostage situation, as realized in Colleyville in January 2022.
As your Community Security Director, I’m available to provide all these trainings to your community. I provide them regularly online (see the schedule at jewishportland.org/events/security-training) and encourage groups to have me come out and conduct in-person trainings. I’m also available to work with you on emergency procedures, to develop safety protocols for your organization and to evaluate physical spaces for safety improvements. Individuals are welcome to contact me about a personal safety or security concern at email@example.com or 503-985-6093.
Finally, we know that antisemitic incidents are vastly underreported. Please help us by reporting incidents, even small ones, online at jewishportland.org/security.
Jessica Anderson is the Portland-area Director of Community Security. She was previously an FBI agent for 24 years. This position is funded by SCN (the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America) and a local three-way partnership of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, Oregon Jewish Community Foundation Endowment Fund and multiple Jewish organizations in the region.