The Best Defense

By Laura Spadantua

Not everyone applauds the newer approaches, however. Kenneth Trump, president of consulting company National School Safety and Security Services, is concerned that people are too quick to discard proven best practices, like lockdowns. While the lockdown and other security measures implemented during the active-shooter situation at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut failed to save the lives of 26 people, those measures did save many other lives in that incident, he says. “There were people who reportedly were in lockdown when the gunman went past the room. So it did not work for all, but it did work for some. So you just don’t summarily throw out decades-plus of best practices,” asserts Trump. 

Proponents of the newer options counter that they are trying to marry the best of the old with something new. “Oftentimes, people think that it’s replacement of lockdown. It’s really not. It’s adding additional components to lockdown that are much more situation-specific rather than just sort of a general response to any particular event,” Klinger tells Security Management.

New Tactics

Two popular active-shooter response-training approaches that go beyond traditional lockdown in active-shooter training are Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-supported “Run Hide Fight,” and ALICE (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate).

The City of Houston used federal DHS funds to produce “Run Hide Fight” as an active-shooter-response video. It instructs viewers that when they are confronted with an active-shooter threat, they should first run out of the building or kill zone if possible; if that’s not possible, they should hide. If hiding securely isn’t an option, they should fight with anything available to end the threat, rather than simply waiting to become the next victim. This approach has won many supporters, and it is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s online active-shooter training program. But it was for the workplace, not schools.




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