ALICE, a training course developed by former SWAT-team leader Greg Crane, of training company Response Options, is specifically geared toward school shooters. However, the “Run Hide Fight” tools are now used in schools as well. Though both programs include the traditional tactics of evacuating (running) when possible and locking down in a room (hiding) when evacuation isn’t a reasonable option, they also include instruction on how to fight back, which has generated controversy (more on that later).
Evacuation. The evacuation aspect can be difficult. That’s true in a multi-level hotel or a high-rise office building, and it’s no less true in a school. There are often classrooms on several floors, and those rooms may not be near an exit. Additionally, there may not be communication about where the shooter is. But having a plan can help. That’s why Klinger tells Security Management that schools should have certain protocols for when to flee. Klinger said during her presentation that kids who leave tend to survive these attacks.
It’s important to remember that schools have a wide range of communication capabilities. “We work in schools where they don’t even have a PA system,” Klinger says. Others have advanced systems that can send messages throughout the school. But even where communications are good, it’s possible that the person responsible for operating the system will be incapacitated at the start of an attack—or that person may simply not have good information to relay—so there is no telling what sort of information will be passed back to teachers and classrooms. Faculty must be prepared to work with what they’ve got in the moment and use that for quick action.
“When I have information about what’s happening, if I’m at the north end of a building and the active-shooter event is occurring at the south end of a building in the gym, why would I lock the door and sit there, and wait for him to find me? Why would we not remove ourselves from this situation?” asks Klinger.