After extensive research and study of historical and recent school safety incidents, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new document with new guidelines for school safety entitled “Guide For Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operation Plans.” One of the major findings was that the lone option to lockdown was no longer enough. It was stressed that “as the situation develops, it is possible that students and staff will need to use more than one option.” In order to give our staff and students more options to protect themselves, KPBSD adopted the ALICE protocols to be used when the presence of a violent intruder necessitates a “Safety Closure.” ALICE is an acronym for:
ALERT Use Plain and Specific Language. Avoid Code Words
Get the word out! Notify authorities and those in harm’s way of the danger at hand. The objective is a conveyance of plain, clear, concise and accurate information, not an issuance of a command. The goal is to empower as many individuals as possible with the ability to make an informed decision as to their best option to maximize their chances of survival!
LOCKDOWN Barricade the Room. Silence Mobile Devices. Prepare to EVACUATE or COUNTER if Needed
Locking down and barricading entry points may still be the best option in some situations. The noise of cell phones and phone conversations could put students and staff in danger so all mobile devices should be silenced. ALICE training includes instruction on practical techniques to assist in better barricading the room. Pre-Planning and obtaining of materials can improve the ability to barricade. The time in Lockdown can be used to prepare for the use of different protocols (i.e. Counter or Evacuate) as the incident proceeds and situational information is supplied.
INFORM Communicate the Intruder’s Location in Real Time
Inform is a continuation of Alert and uses any means available to pass on real-time information.
Communicate real-time updates throughout the incident to those involved. This can be accomplished through the use of video surveillance equipment, public address systems, or electronic updates. Updates during an incident allow those involved to make sound decisions about how to react and what steps, if any, to take next. Information should always be clear, direct and, as much as possible, should communicate the whereabouts of the intruder. Effective information can keep the intruder off balance, giving people in the school more time to further lockdown, or evacuate to safety.
COUNTER Create Noise, Movement, Distance and Distraction
This protocol is used only as a “last-resort” or “worst-case” option if those involved have not been able to find a secured area, or their secure area has been breached. Staff and students are trained in disruptive actions that create noise, movement, and distance to distract, confuse, and gain control through age appropriate tactics. ALICE does not endorse civilians fighting an active shooter, but when confronted directly in a life-and-death situation, individuals should use any actions necessary to defend themselves.
EVACUATE When Safe To Do So, Remove Yourself From Danger Zone
The goal is to safely put as much time and distance between the threat and our staff and students as possible. The decision to evacuate can be made at any time during the incident based upon information that becomes available. Evacuating to a safe area takes people out of harm’s way and hopefully prevents civilians from having to come into any contact with an intruder. Evacuation is the number one goal! When Evacuation is one of multiple protocols that are safely available, Evacuation should be the first choice.
It is important to understand that these protocols are age appropriate, not sequential or chronological, and those involved have the ability to change protocols as an incident progresses.
KPBSD’s change to the use of A.L.I.C.E. protocols has been done in conjunction with our local law enforcement agencies. These agencies also participate in the training of staff and students.
- KPBSD School Safety Closure information flyer
- KPBSD Emergency Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
- KPBSD webpage http://bit.ly/SchoolDelaysOrClosures