As students head off to college for the first time or are returning after the summer, they need to know that they have options for how to respond when faced with an active shooter situation on campus. While it is very rare, violent events are not unusual and students must be prepared. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) is a comprehensive program that teaches individuals what their options are in a violent intruder or active shooter situation. Being aware of your surroundings is important, regardless of the location. Having a plan and being mentally prepared will improve your chances of survival. So as you get ready to head back to school or start your first year, keep these important safety tips in mind:
1. Know your ALICE options now so that when faced with the danger, you react proactively and are not frozen with fear. You have multiple options that you can use to save your life. Follow the link to review a summary of your ALICE options.
2. Be aware of what is going on around you and trust your gut!– If your instincts tell you something is not right, don’t ignore it…act on it and notify Law Enforcement immediately. Electronic devices have the potential to be distracting and often lower levels of awareness which may cause you to miss important signs of danger. You do not need to be paranoid, simply be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be caught off guard! It’s better to notify law enforcement of something suspicious and have it be nothing versus not saying anything and having it turn into a very serious, perhaps even life threatening, situation.
3. 911 may not be your closest help– We have been taught since preschool to dial 911 if you need law enforcement. And while that is still a good option, be aware that many college and university campuses have their own law enforcement agency on campus and may be able to respond faster to your distress call than the city or county surrounding the campus. Find out if your campus law enforcement agency has its own “911” direct number and program it into your phone’s speed dial. Note, if you call 911, you will still get help coming your way but the city or county may have to route your call back to the campus police and possibly waste precious time. In times of danger, seconds count.
4. Locks don’t help if you don’t use them– Following a person into a locked building and not using one’s own key or access card is called Tailgating. This occurs most frequently in the Residence Halls. Oftentimes, Intruders will use this tactic to enter locked facilities and commit criminal acts. Make sure you close the door behind you in these situations and do not let tailgaters follow you in. Many students also find it more convenient to prop their residence hall room door open because they “will be back in a minute” however, intruders can easily gain entry into your room and even be waiting for you to return.
5. Mental preparation– Each semester brings a new schedule with new classrooms and surroundings. Make sure you know the layout of your classroom, library, student union etc. Where are your exits and how can you quickly evacuate? Under the stress of an emergency, if you are mentally prepared, you will have a more effective and rapid response. Also have a plan of how you would barricade your classroom, dorm or any room you are in if you had to do so. Does the door have a lock? Which way does the door open? What furniture would you move to help stop the intruder from opening the door? If the intruder got in what would you use to defend yourself?
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about ALICE and how it can improve your chances of survival, feel free to contact us. Be safe and have a great school year.
Marianne Alvarez, Director of Training
Download as pdf here.