ALICE – Overview

“ALICE” is an acronym for 5 steps you can utilize in order to increase your chances of surviving a life threatening situation such as an active shooting.  The program is portable to any public or private event / location including movie theaters, grocery stores, a baseball game, or evening at a picnic.

It is important to remember that the “ALICE” response does not follow a set of actions you “shall, must, will” do.  ALICE provides options.

While accountability, liability and responsibility is important, survivability is paramount. Therefore, a proactive, options-based training is necessary. Individuals may use any or all parts of the response plan. While the ALICE acronym make it easier to remember, it is not sequential or linear. In this type of incident, perception is the reality and individuals must decide for themselves what is in their best interests.

Can be anything. No code words.

  • Gunfire
  • Witness
  • PA Announcement
  • Phone alert, text, emergency messaging

This is a semi-secure starting point from which to make survival decisions. If you decide to not evacuate, secure the room.

  • Lock the door.
  • Cover any windows in the door if possible
  • Tie down the door, if possible, using belts, purse straps, shoelaces, etc.
  • Barricade the door with anything available (desks, chairs, etc.)
  • Look for alternate escape routes (windows, other doors)
  • Call 911
  • Move out of the doorway in case gunfire comes through it
  • Silence or place cell phones on vibrate
  • Once secured, do not open the door for anyone. Police will enter the room when the situation is over. However, if information is conveyed that the situation has changed and evacuation is possible, evacuate.
  • Gather weapons (coffee cups, chairs, books, pens, etc.) and mentally prepare to defend yourself or others.
  • Put yourself in position to surprise the active shooter should they enter the room.

Using any means necessary to pass on real time information.

  • Given in plain language.
  • Can be derived from 911 calls, video surveillance, etc.
  • Who, what, where, when and how information
  • Can be used by people in the area or who may come into it to make common sense decisions
  • Can be given by electronic messaging, PA Announcements or Police Radio speakers

This is as a last resort when other options are not available or feasible. This is the use of simple, proactive techniques that will make the Active Shooter’s ability to shoot accurately more difficult. This is not fighting; this is countering the attack.

  • To counter an attack use noise, movement, noise and distraction, and when age-appropriate, the swarm technique to gain back control.
  • Throws things at the shooter’s head to disrupt their aim
  • Create as much noise as possible
  • The swarm technique involves grabbing the shooter’s limbs and head and take them to the ground and hold them there
  • Run around the room and create chaos and evacuate, if possible
  • If you have control of the shooter, call 911 and tell the police where you are and listen to their commands when officers arrive on scene.

Remove yourself from the danger zone as quickly as possible.

  • Decide if you can safely evacuate
  • Run in a zigzag pattern as fast as you can
  • Do not have anything in your hands.
  • Do not stop running until you are far away from
  • Break out windows and attempt to quickly clear glass from the frame
  • Go directly to the Rally Point.
  • Follow all commands given my law enforcement
  • Do not attempt to drive from the area

Responding Police will have their weapons drawn and ready for use. They do not know exactly who the shooter is and will probably point weapons at occupants. Just remain calm and follow any directions they may give. Occupants may be asked questions, patted down, and given orders to exit certain ways.

  • Responding Police are there to stop the Active Shooter as soon as possible. They will bypass injured people and will not help you escape. Only after the shooter is stopped will they begin to provide other assistance.
  • If you come into possession of a weapon, DO NOT, carry or brandish it! Police may think you are the Active Shooter. If possible, put it in a trashcan and carry it with you. If you come across Police, calmly tell them what you are carrying and why. Follow their commands.
  • Be prepared to provide first aid. Think outside the box. Tampons and feminine napkins can be used to stop blood loss. Shoelaces and belts can be used to secure tourniquets. Weighted shoes can be tied around a person’s head to immobilize it. Remember it may be several hours until can safely move an injured person. The actions you take immediately to treat them may save their life.
  • If you are in lockdown for a long period of time, give consideration to issues such as bathroom use, keeping people calm, etc.
  • Discuss beforehand with people in your office where you will meet up should you have to evacuate and make it a place easily accessible and far away from the scene.
  • Talk to your co-workers beforehand to know if they have any special skills. Consider strategic placement of these people in an office setting. You may have current or ex-military personnel, medically trained persons, or even people trained in martial arts that can provide assistance in this type of incident.
  • Consider setting up classrooms and offices to make it harder for an Active Shooter to enter and acquire targets.

These measures are meant to provide you with the knowledge and skills you may need to make decisions for your safety and the safety of the children. There are no mandates on how to survive; you are empowered to make decisions in the moment.

ALICE Power Point Presentation for Students and Families


ALICE Poster for Classroom Instruction
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