November 19,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, This past week’s mass shooting at a California elementary school once again raised questions about safety protocols in schools northern New Jersey and our own schools in Ridgewood .

Early safety focused the duck and cover mode and hope for the best , but with all these high profile incidents many school systems look to be better prepared .

Along come a company called ALICE Training Institute , their Mission: To Improve Chances of Survival .

Right from ALICE’s website , “The threat of an active shooter attack is rare but very real. We aim to eradicate the “It can’t happen to me” mentality and change the way people everywhere respond to armed intruders. At the ALICE Training Institute, we believe that individuals should be prepared for active shooter events and empowered to make their own life-saving decisions. Once empowered to make their own life-saving decisions, individuals must be trained in proactive active shooter response options, rather than a passive, mandated, one-size-fits-all response. We want all Americans to have the knowledge and skills to survive when shots are fired. We can achieve this by training as many people as possible and implementing training in drill form across all organizations. We have seen the successful results of fire drills. It’s time to start anticipating man-made disasters.”

ALICE Training Institute is dedicated to promoting proactive strategies to improve the chances of survival during an active shooter event. We’ve worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals in Police/LE, K-12 Schools, Healthcare, Higher Education, Business, Government and Houses of Worship organizations and empowered their people using ALICE Training.

The Bergen Record cited Denville’s School Superintendent Steven Forte who said the district implemented a strategy four years ago called ALICE to prepare students for “an active shooter” emergency.

The ALICE training program, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, was created after the Columbine shooting , by  law enforcement professional Greg Crane who was worried for the safety of his wife, a school principal.

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.

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.

Our 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.

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.

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.

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.

While this may seem extreme to many , its seems that in this day and age you cant be to careful, and like fire drills you always want to be prepared .