School Safety Update
I am writing to summarize the outcomes from our February 5th Early Release Day ALICE training facilitated by Josh Otey, Bristol Police, and Matt Tatro, Shelburne Police. ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate is an augmentation of our current practice and is based on two decades worth of research on what practices increase the odds of survival in these types of emergencies. ALICE is a nationally recognized program that provides response options based situations encountered during violent intrusions so as to respond in the most effective way possible.
This training is a continuation of an ANWSD’s focus on school safety and security which included upgrades to our facilities to enhance school security including new door lock systems and security cameras. In addition, we have restructured our school district safety/crisis teams to include a Public Safety Team including many of our area Police, Fire, and Emergency professionals. Our Public Safety Team will hold their first meeting in follow up to this training on May 7. Meanwhile, our District Safety team continues to update our ANWSD Safety Plan to include these elements.
Currently, the schools conduct lockdown and evacuation drills with students such as fire drills, or routine building evacuations. These drills will continue. Meanwhile, we will extend staff training to include all elements of ALICE including situational scenario drills which will occur in June 2019. While these types of drills surface emotional issues, we are obligated to support staff in developing skills which will increase our confidence and competency for emergency preparedness. Included in our long-range planning will be age- appropriate awareness training for our students. These trainings have not yet occurred and we will communicate with parents in advance of these taking place.
ALICE reminds staff that while our emergency responders are often considered “first responders” those of us in the crisis zone are truly the first to create a response. A summary of the ALICE responses are as follows (not sequential!).
A -Alert is overcoming denial, recognizing the signs of danger and receiving notifications about the danger from others
- Information is the key to good decision-making
- Alerts should be accepted, taken seriously, and should help you make survival decisions based on your circumstances
- Shift from using codes or a generic call for a lockdown to more specific information (e.g. “Armed Intruder in the main lobby”)
Respond quickly. Seconds count
Purpose: To allow for an aggressive use of current technology and procedures to create an enhanced lockdown response.
Continue to monitor and assess the situation
Use furniture in the room to barricade the entrance to the room
Look for alternate escape routes
Purpose: To continually communicate the intruder’s whereabouts using direct and clear language.
Knowledge is the key to survival
To inform students/teachers of the whereabouts so they can decide whether to barricade or flee
Information can distract the intruder
- Know that a primary communicator’s ability to continually inform may be compromised; act accordingly
Purpose: To apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control.
Create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately
- Disrupt the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) through noise, movement, distance, distractions, thrown objects
- Physically overwhelm the intruder
Purpose: To remove as many people as possible from the danger zone to minimize targets of opportunity.
- Only 2% of incidents involve more than 1 shooter
- Provide students with the ability and permission to evacuate – using strategies like breaking windows to escape.
- Remove as many potential targets as possible
Frequently Asked Questions
Does ALICE replace our current crisis commands (Clear the Halls, Lock Out, Lock Down, Evacuate, Shelter in Place)?
No. ALICE provides response options based situations encountered during violent intrusions so as to respond in the most effective way possible. The other school commands are still needed for any number of other school emergencies. Clear the Halls would be used for things like medical emergencies, Lock Out would be used for notification of things like a bank robbery or of other suspicious activities in our area, Lock Down might be needed for other emergencies, Evacuate would be used for a whole school relocation due to fire or other building issues, and Shelter in Place might be used in the event of road closure preventing access to our facilities or sudden weather issues like flooding. (see link)
Will we get more ALICE training?
Yes. It is our plan to provide opportunities to practice in each school setting later this school year and to make these drills a regular part of our emergency response planning.
Will we train students in these methods?
Yes, we will create a plan to train students to practice in age-appropriate ways once we have successfully supported staff through these practices. We will share research and resources prior to taking this step and communicate clearly with parents about our intention to do so. The school and district safety teams will support the development of this training plan.