Frequently Asked Questions about ALICE
What do law enforcement officials recommend?
Because no single response fits all events, we need to make sure that every individual knows his or her options and can act decisively to select the best course of action.
Our district’s SROs (school resource officers) have highly recommended a new approach, referred to as ALICE, which is becoming widely known as the new “best practice” approach to safety training.
Other districts across the state are also considering moving to this approach, and locally we are collaborating with Eugene and Bethel school districts to make sure that training is consistent across all schools and across our communities.
What is ALICE?
ALICE stands for Alert • Lockdown • Inform • Counter • Evacuate. The components are NOT sequential and do NOT constitute a checklist. Staff will need to rely on the information at hand and their own judgment to determine the safest course of action.
The approach is an alternative to the more passive “hunker down” approach of the past, designed to empower individuals to participate actively in their own survival, while leading others to safety.
There are no guarantees, but the widespread belief is that these new skill sets will greatly increase the odds of survival should anyone face an active shooter situation.
- ALERT: Sound an alarm using plain and specific language to alert others to the danger.
- LOCKDOWN: Doors should be locked to give all involved time to react. If a secure location is available, practical strategies are shared for how to better barricade a room and how to better prepare for other strategies if needed, such as Counter or Evacuate.
- INFORM: Communicate the violent intruder’s location and direction in real time using any means necessary (such as PA announcements or walkie-talkies) so that everyone on site has access to the information. The idea is that knowledge is the key to survival.
- COUNTER: Interrupt the physical act of the shooting by making noise or other distraction with the intent of reducing the intruder’s ability to execute his/her plan. This could mean literally throwing anything available to hinder a shooter’s aim. Note that this does not mean fighting, but is rather a last-ditch effort to avoid being a “sitting duck.”
- EVACUATE: When it is safe to do so, remove yourself from the danger zone. The idea is to get as many people away from the situation as possible. ALICE training provides techniques for safer and more strategic evacuations that will make the need to Counter less likely.
Again, these strategies are not sequential, and no single response (such as lockdown-only) fits all active shooter events; however, making sure that each individual knows his or her options for response and can react decisively will save valuable time.
Specific advice varies depending on what level of student is concerned. For example, elementary students will obviously need to wait for direction from teachers and staff.
How is the training made specific for each school?
Training will be specific to each school’s layout and location. Schools will work to identify:
- a meet-up location and protocol for students and staff in the event they need to evacuate;
- a plan for reunification of students with their families.
School resource officers Darin Vetter and Erik Todd will be visiting schools this fall to review evacuation strategies, rally points and processes. The officers will begin with elementary schools, followed by middle and then high schools.
How does this affect student training?
Once staff are all trained, we will begin to implement the concepts of the ALICE response method with students, in age appropriate ways. As with any such training, the idea is not to make the students scared, but to give them the knowledge that they need to be more confident, competent and calm in the event of an emergency.
How can families talk to students about this?
Young students need constant reminders of safe practices in order for them to make good decisions about personal safety. Parents can help students to prepare for ALICE by helping them understand the following objectives at home:
- Most people are good people, but there are some people, and they can be of all ages, color and types, that can be mean and may wish them harm.
- Self-confidence comes from trying things that are hard and getting better each time.
- There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
- When people are prepared for difficult situations, they can make smarter decisions.
- Help children understand that their school wants to have drills so they can have a good plan if anything happens.
- Discuss the importance of following the teacher’s directions without hesitation.
For more information, visit www.alicetraining.com.
Statistics cited were from an FBI report, “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013” and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), “Active Shooter: Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation,” 2012 Edition.
Risk Management Contacts:
Brett Yancey, Chief Operations Officer
Chris Reiersgaard, Assist Director for Facilities
640 A Street
Springfield, OR 97477