This past week, I took part in a training event at my department where we were taught concepts to help schools during a dangerous event or active shooter scenario.
The first part was from the ALICE™ program and it was paired up with something called the RAIDER™ response. Each concept is designed as a stand alone and is targeted to specific audiences.
The ALICE™ concept is being taught to educators, churches, and businesses throughout the country to help them increase survival rates should a violent event occur. The premise is pretty basic: Doing something is better than doing nothing.
The RAIDER™ element works in conjunction with the ALICE™ concept, and is a tactical response for an armed responder attempting to find and stop an active aggressor.
Where law enforcement used to wait for four officers to respond before making entry into a building, they are now being taught how to enter a building alone, find the bad guy, and stop the killing.
The idea for RAIDER is based upon studies of past workplace/school shootings. Law enforcement cannot wait to have four officers before entering a building because as they wait, the killing continues until the killer is confronted, where he usually kills himself.
If there is an armed security response at your church, this responsibility may fall to you.
Since a large majority of these incidents are perpetrated by a lone individual looking for easy targets, the simualtaneous actions of taking away targets (ALICE), and a quick armed response (RAIDER), reduces the number of victims maimed or killed by an active shooter.
According to the ALICE training website, it is an acronym for:
A: ALERT. Use Plain and Specific Language. Avoid Code Words.
Teach your volunteers if they hear anything that resembles gunfire, they have they have the authority to take the initiative on their own to notify others in the childcare/Sunday School room area. Because many churches don’t have PA systems, you might want to consider having a radio assigned to someone who oversees that area of the church.
L: LOCKDOWN. Barricade the Room. Silence Mobile Devices. Prepare to EVACUATE or COUNTER if Needed.
Once the alert is given or received, teach your volunteers how to lock down and barricade a room. If the entire childcare area has one access point, teach them how to lock and barricade that door with items inside the room.
I: INFORM. Communicate the Shooter’s Location in Real Time.
If communication is established, the location of the aggressor may be reported by anyone having knowledge of his location. Communication is a two way street.
C: COUNTER. Create Noise, Movement, Distance and Distraction with the Intent of Reducing the Shooter’s Ability to Shoot Accurately.
If the aggressor makes entry into the area, volunteers may be taught resistence techniques such as throwing things, striking the aggressor with improvised weapons (chairs, books, fire extinguishers, etc).
E: EVACUATE. When Safe to Do So, Remove Yourself from the Danger Zone.
This is different then staying in lockdown. If the aggressor is in another area of the church, getting out of the church to a safe location is preferable. A NYPD study found in many shootings, those who were able to escape from the building survived at a greater rate than those who stayed and sheltered in place.
You may want to coordinate with your local law enforcement agency or school district because it is quite possible someone from the agency or district has already received the training, and it may be a cost effective way to provide training for your church volunteers.
I am going to contact the developer of ALICE and try to interview him for a webinar in the near future. The website advises they will be introducing an e-learning opportunity in the near future.