A Look at Active Shooter Response
By: Jade Lish
Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Roseburg, OR; Colorado Springs, CO; San Bernadino; CA; Orlando, FL. The terrifying truth is that an act of mass violence can happen anywhere. As horrific mass shootings are spoken about in the news and in the community, you may have heard talk of different responses to an active shooter situation, including Lockdown, A.L.I.C.E, and Run Hide Fight.
As schools and organizations prepare staff and students for the worst, there are multiple procedures to consider. The traditional active shooter response is to Lockdown.
Lockdown Active Shooter Response:
- A lockdown is a precautionary measure in response to a threat directly to the school or in the surrounding community.
- All school activities are moved indoors.
- No one is allowed to enter or exit the building.
- Move people away from the windows and doors. Keep all students sitting on the floor, and turn off the lights.
Another procedure goes by the acronym A.L.I.C.E. ALICE active shooter protocol questions the traditional “Lockdown-Only” response to an active shooter event and emphasizes the need for a pro-active options-based strategy.
A.L.I.C.E. Active Shooter Response:
- ALERT: Use plain and specific language. Avoid code words.
- LOCKDOWN: Barricade the room. Silence mobile devices. Prepare to Evacuate or Counter if needed.
- INFORM: Communicate the shooter’s location in real time.
- COUNTER: Create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately.
- EVACUATE: When safe to do so, remove yourself from the danger zone.
Run Hide Fight is another common approach. This response has a tier system where the ideal situation would allow you to safely escape. If unable to run, the next best option would be to hide from the intruder. As a last resort and only if your life is in danger, you can attempt to fight against the shooter.
Run Hide Fight Active Shooter Response:
- RUN: Have an escape route and plan in mind. Leave your belongings behind. Keep your hands visible.
- HIDE: Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors. Silence your cell phone and/or pager.
- FIGHT: As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.
It is vital that faculty, staff and students be prepared to deal with a potential active shooter situation. For this reason, thousands of organizations are making active shooter response training a top priority.
Although you cannot predict an active shooter crisis, you can prepare. In a crisis situation, every second counts. An well-practiced plan and effective communication during a crisis are key.
If you are considering an active shooter drill for your school district or organization, consider the different responses and what is best for your organization. Multiple K-12 school districts have practiced their chosen active shooter response using CrisisGo to alert and communicate during the drill.
For information about using the CrisisGo app during an active shooter response drill, please visit our website.