It’s an uncomfortable topic to cover, but in recent years school shootings have been on the rise while preparedness hasn’t changed. The method still taught at many elementary and high school level of “lockdown” where children gather at a side of the room, or under their desks has become outdated and there must be a change to keep the safety of our children at the highest that it can be if the unfortunate were to ever happen.
Across the United States there have been many organization that have adopted the A.L.I.C.E. program or a type of run-hide-fight training. The program does not claim to be perfect, but it does show that students that are informed of the program can feel better prepared if disaster were to ever strike. There are in depth fire and earthquake drills and A.L.I.C.E. training asks the question of why there shouldn’t be drills for school shootings since the risk is much higher.
So what does A.L.I.C.E. stand for?
Alert: Instead of using code words, alert here means getting everyone the information at the first notice of danger. The key here is getting the response out as fast as possible, whether through alert system, intercom, texts, phone calls, anything to get the information out.
Lockdown: This goes a step further than the traditional lockdown and includes barricading doorways, as well as blocking locking mechanisms for doors in a way that prohibits entry. With this comes the time to get prepared to evacuate or move to counter
Inform: Keep everyone informed on the intruder’s location and the direction that they are going. Use clear and direct language.
Counter: In the case of a school shooter entering a room, throw the closest object you have at them, a split second of confusion can mean a world of difference. Counter also includes creating distractions and keeping your distance. The thing to be remembered here is that counter is not the same as fight, as that puts yourself in immediate danger.
Evacuate: Run, get as far away from the situation as you can. Remove yourself from the area of danger.
A.L.I.C.E. training focuses primarily on the concept of the O.O.D.A. loop, a military-in-mind system of cognition, Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. With a better sense of preparedness, a persons O.O.D.A. loop has the ability to react faster and therefore students should feel prepared and in turn feel safer.
When it comes to school shootings the number one thing to be remembered is the action of doing something. A.L.I.C.E. allows you to do what you are comfortable with, and in many cases Evacuate should be the first method of action.
If you can’t make a training in person – check out a recording of a recent training.