Such are the times that we just had a training about what to do if there is an active shooter on the premises. Lt. Mike Gossom of the Gloucester Police Department taught our staff about what is recommended. The word to remember is ALICE:
ALERT everyone in the immediate area as much as possible without adding to your own danger.
LOCKDOWN. If you cannot run out the door to safety, lock yourself in a room or closet and barricade the door. Use whatever is available to make the room into a fortress. Pile furniture against the door. Use a belt to secure the doorknob to something immovable. Use ingenuity. Think about the actions in advance and rehearse if appropriate. You need to know your environment better than the shooter does.
INFORM the police as soon as possible. Give your best description about what the shooter looks like and where he/she was last seen.
If you can’t flee, COUNTER by interrupting the process with anything that is available. Lt. Gossom said that his police academy students were given tennis balls. Tennis balls thrown at the shooter were able to deflect and distract the shooter enough to buy time. Use whatever is at hand (pens, cell phones, tape holders…).
ESCAPE. Know the ways out of the building (if the shooting is inside) and know safe buildings (if the shooting is outside). If you are in a public space like a movie theater, identify the exits. Think about it in advance. If there is a choice between lockdown and escape, ESCAPE.
The goal of our training was to raise our awareness of what to do and how to plan.