REEDSVILLE — Around 40 people representing law enforcement, schools, emergency management and others recently took part in the ALICE Instructor Training course held at Eastern Elementary.
Eastern Middle School Principal Bill Francis, who is an ALICE Instructor, organized the two-day training with Instructor Eric Spicer leading the class.
The 40 participants included staff and/or administrators from Eastern, Meigs and Southern local school districts, Carleton School/Meigs Industries, Mason County Schools, Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Ohio Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County, West Virginia Schools, Richard Allen Academy in Hamilton, Ohio, Marietta City Police, and Vinton County Local Schools.
Francis explained that when he completed the instructor training he had to travel 2 1/2 hours for the course, which lead to the idea of hosting the training locally, calling the course something that is needed in the area.
Francis has previously held trainings for staff at Eastern and Meigs local schools for staff as part of in-service days for both districts. With the completion of the trainer’s class, each district will now have a certified trainer who can conduct the courses.
The two-day instructor course includes classroom work and scenarios the first day, while the trainers-in-training spent the second day preparing for the ALICE Training classes they will be able to teach. After the completion of the training, the participants have to do some online work and pass an online quiz to become certified trainers.
Spicer explained that the focus of ALICE is to teach civilians “how to react or respond to an active shooter.” The training empowers the individuals to make decisions in the situation, rather than the person relying on someone to give him or her instructions.
“This is a valuable training,” explained Spicer. “The goal is to save lives and make people more prepared.”
He noted that the training can be used anywhere, not just in a school setting.
ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, which is exactly what the training teaches the staff to do.
According to the ALICE Training Institute website, the five steps will assist those in an active shooter situation. The website explains Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate as follows:
Alert — Alert is your first notification of danger. Alert is when you first become aware of a threat. The sooner you understand that you’re in danger, the sooner you can save yourself. A speedy response is critical. Seconds count. Alert is overcoming denial, recognizing the signs of danger and receiving notifications about the danger from others. Alerts should be accepted, taken seriously, and should help you make survival decisions based on your circumstances.
Lockdown — Barricade the room. Prepare to evacuate or counter if needed. If evacuation is not a safe option, barricade entry points into your room in an effort to create a semi-secure starting point. The training explains scenarios where lockdown may be the preferable option and dispels myths about passive, traditional ‘lockdown only’ procedures that create readily identifiable targets and makes a shooter’s mission easier. ALICE trainers instruct on practical techniques for how to better barricade a room, what to do with mobile and electronic devices, how and when to communicate with police, and how to use your time in lockdown to prepare to use other strategies (i.e. counter or evacuate) that might come into play should the active shooter gain entry.
Inform — Communicate the violent intruder’s location and direction in real time. The purpose of inform is to continue to communicate information in as real time as possible, if it is safe to do so. Armed intruder situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, which means that ongoing, real time information is key to making effective survival decisions. Information should always be clear, direct and in plain language, not using codes. If the shooter is known to be in an isolated section of a building, occupants in other wards can safely evacuate while those in direct danger can perform enhanced lockdown and prepare to counter. Video surveillance, 911 calls and PA announcements are just a few of the channels that may be used by employees, safety officers, and other personnel to inform others. An emergency response plan should have clear methods outlined for informing school employees, hospital workers, or any other employees of the location of a violent intruder.
Counter — Create noise, movement, distance, and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. Counter is not fighting. ALICE Training does not believe that actively confronting a violent intruder is the best method for ensuring the safety of those involved. Counter is a strategy of last resort. Counter focuses on actions that create noise, movement, distance, and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. Creating a dynamic environment decreases the shooter’s chance of hitting a target and can provide the precious seconds needed in order to evacuate.
Evacuate — When safe to do so, remove yourself from the danger zone. ATI provides techniques for safer and more strategic evacuations. Evacuating to a safe area takes people out of harm’s way and hopefully prevents civilians from having to come into any contact with the shooter. Did you know that you should break a window from the top corner as opposed to the center? Many useful techniques that civilians do not know exist and can save your life. ALICE trainers teach strategies for evacuating through windows, from higher floors, and under extreme duress.
ALICE Training began after the shooting at Columbine High School, with a law enforcement officer and a teacher deciding there had to be a better way than the lockdown.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.