We’re Friends With ALICE, And You Should Be Too
First things first, you’re probably asking yourself, “What in the world is ALICE?”. ALICE is the premier active shooter, building preparation, and school lockdown training protocol, and the protocol endorsed not only by us here at the LockOut Company, but by many police organizations as well. In this article, we’ll break down the fundamentals of ALICE, give a brief overview of each, and explain why this system is so important to us and to the facilities we help protect.
According to the ALICE website, “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”. Here, you’ll notice that the faster you are aware that a threat exists, the faster you can get yourself to safety. Ensuring that a building(s) wide, clear alert system is in place is vital to a safer lockdown scenario. Getting people out of harm’s way sadly isn’t always possible in a lockdown situation, whether it’s a soft lockdown, or an active shooter scenario, but creating a clear visual and audio alert system that is unmistakable gives as many people as possible the chance to get to a safe location and protect themselves.
Beyond only barricading rooms, which is often the safest option, ALICE training works with facility personnel to understand when escaping or evading a threat is best. While our systems primarily focus on quickly moving people to safety and barricading entryways, we understand that this may not always be the best option, and we work closely with the ALICE training team to make sure we are providing the best training for our customers. Companies like ours should have ALICE certified instructors working with their customers, or if you follow a different protocol, then training in that system should be of the highest priority. No security or safety system is complete without effective and ongoing training, and no company should ever just drop off a physical system and wish a customer good luck. Beyond training solely for whether or not to lockdown, ALICE goes beyond and helps people in danger understand when and how to communicate with police, where to move to in a room to better hide or defend yourself, and how to recognize when it’s time to forego one strategy (lockdown, evade, counter, or escape) and turn to another.
Critical in any lockdown, especially an active shooter scenario, is information. Where is the threat? Do we stay in lockdown? Is it time to escape? Is the situation safe? These are just a few questions that need to be answered with fast, effective communication to those in danger. Whether it’s through announcements, phone calls, or a dedicated application like the LockOut Company mobile application, police, rescue, and even administrative personnel need to be able to stay in touch with those in danger, and help guide them to safety, or keep them safe where they are. If a system can go further and give visual cues such as lighting changes, or automated messages which have been previously approved by law enforcement, that is even better. Information is vital because it helps maintain calm, often allows us to avoid danger, and let’s a threat know that we aren’t passive targets for them, that we will stay informed, and we will have the opportunity to avoid them, or counter them if necessary.
ALICE training makes it clear that actually confronting and fighting a threat is not the best option, and should only be used as a last resort. Rather, according to the ALICE website “Counter focuses on actions that create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately”. Some systems are designed to help create a counter mentality immediately. For example, the LockOut System includes SmartLights that blink red when a lockdown is initiated, and a repeated “lockdown” message from the SmartBox in each room. Also, Ballistics Shields can be installed on doors with windows to create time as a threat tries to break through, while creating sharp edges making reaching into the room difficult and possibly harmful for a threat. While these are just two specific examples that we deploy, they are many other ways to counter a threat when necessary, which ALICE training staff are experts in.
The ALICE system doesn’t stop with the lockdown itself. Evacuating a danger zone, whether during or after a threat scenario, and moving to a safe location, takes training too. Understanding how to evacuate correctly can keep you and those around you safe. This is where understanding your building identification system and staying informed become so critical. “ALICE trainers teach strategies for evacuating through windows, from higher floors and under extreme duress”. It is often the ability to remember your training, and execute it correctly, that can give higher probability of remaining safe in a dangerous situation.
Why We Endorse ALICE
As we’ve stated as a company, we believe that continued training, not only in your safety and security system, but also in the fundamentals of protecting yourself in a worst-case scenario, are incredibly important. Training for every scenario, from a soft lockdown, to an active shooter, helps keep people safe and can save lives should a threat target your facility. We feel that ALICE promotes the same values that we hold as a company by providing the best possible training and certification, as well as by working effectively with the LockOut System to create a comprehensive approach to safety during a lockdown situation.
We hope you’ll learn more about ALICE at their website www.alicetraining.com, and that you have the opportunity to work with certified training professionals to implement these advanced safety protocols in your facilities.