Active Shooter Events Continue to Rise – Are You Prepared?
Active shooter events in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook Elementary and the City of San Bernardino make national headlines and increase concern about safety in public places. The FBI believes that “unlike a defined crime, such as a murder or mass killing, the ‘active’ aspect inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses.”
In recent years, organizations have evolved their active shooting response from the popular “Run, Hide, Fight” to ALICE.
ALICE is a simple formula, developed by a police officer for his wife, a school principal, and stands for:
- Alert: Immediately communicate to law enforcement. In simple language, provide the nature of the emergency and the location of the shooter to law enforcement and the building’s occupants.
- Lockdown: Secure buildings and maintain a single point of entry so staff can monitor who is coming into the building. Designate secure areas in the building and limit access to these areas so they are available if an incident occurs.
- Inform: Use cameras, PA systems or eAlerts to provide ongoing reports of the shooter’s location to both law enforcement and the building’s occupants.
- Confront: Because occupants are usually the first responders in a shooting event, provide training on what can be easily accessed to use as a weapon. Something as simple as classroom equipment or wasp spray can distract or incapacitate a shooter.
- Evacuate: This is the preferred response to an active shooter situation. Training and discussion are key elements for occupants to identify multiple exit points and alternative ways to escape. Establish meeting points to reassemble after evacuation.
The ALICE method focuses on preplanning multiple actions and practicing the use of various tools and resources to save as many lives as possible. While the ALICE steps are not sequential, with education, training and practice, the method can be used to mitigate an active shooter situation.