Special training helps prepare for active shooter; ALICE techniques being taught in San Diego

Critics question effectiveness of training

SAN DIEGO - The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., has many communities examining their own school safety policies.

Many schools have a plan in place when it comes to preparing for active shooters. Experts say the most common technique schools use is going into a lockdown mode.

However, a program being taught across the country and in San Diego trains people in a different way.

The training program known as A.L.i.C.E. (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) has been taught to 1.5 million people, including those in elementary schools, hospitals and office buildings.

10News learned 300 school districts across the country have also adopted the A.L.i.C.E. techniques.

Instructors say the biggest difference in A.L.i.C.E. training compared to other plans is that it teaches people to take action.

Brett Bandick, a retired law enforcement official and A.L.i.C.E. instructor in San Diego for Texas-based company Response Options, said, "We've taught this at churches, health systems, businesses and schools."

The training course teaches people how to prepare and possibly fight back against an armed gunman. Some of the training techniques include learning how to barricade a door, how to escape by breaking a window and, if you can't get away, how to fight back if you have no other option.

As a security trainer, Bandick taught A.L.i.C.E. techniques to more than 1,000 people in the UC San Diego Health System.

Bandick is now the district security manager for the Palomar Health System, and he has taught 50 people the training at Palomar. The hospital is looking at adopting the training system-wide.

Bandick stresses that A.L.i.C.E. gives people other options than lockdown.

"We need to be ready, we need to be ready to take the correct action that would help us survive," said Bandick.

However, some say A.L.i.C.E. isn't the answer.

Ken Trump, a national security consultant and critic of ALICE, wrote on his website: "It is unrealistic to expect 25 students and a teacher to react simultaneously, with split-second accuracy and timing, when a person with a gun unexpectedly walks into a room".

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