ALMA, Mich. - “You can’t predict when or where, but you can prepare.”
This is the message school officials and law enforcement in Alma want parents and kids to take away in the case of an active shooting situation or any other critical emergency.
And to prepare, the school district wants you to remember one word: ALICE.
“Without having training Iike this, you just don’t know what to do. You’re going to be paralyzed by fear,” said Eric Whitmore.
Eric and Holli Whitmore have two kids in Alma Public Schools.
They say they’re relieved the school district is making sure students, staff and parents know what to do if an emergency ever strikes.
“After seeing some of the other tragedies, we realize how important it is especially like talking about Sandy Hook, even hearing in our local area what happened at CMU last year, just knowing that it can happen in our own backyard we want to make sure we’re prepared,” Whitmore stated.
The program is called ALICE. And Donald L. Pavlik Middle School Principal Wade Slavik says it stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-and Evacuate.
“I think it’s important for our staff and students to all have the power to be able to make decisions for themselves to save their own lives, said Slavik.
What exactly do each of these steps stand for?
'Alert' means to call police and law enforcement say the average time it takes to arrive is 10 minutes.
'Lockdown' means to barricade a room. The next step is to 'Inform' or pass along information and the school district has a unique way of doing that.
“Anybody can make an alert to notify anyone else in the building, it’s an 'all-call',” said Slavik.
Slavik says 'Counter' is a person’s last effort to distract a shooter. And finally 'Evacuate' is to safely leave the building and head to a safe location.
All steps law enforcement say will increase a person’s chances of survival and getting parents involved is a key part of the process.
“They know exactly what the drills are and what students are going to be doing,” Slavik stated.
School officials say Alma Public Schools will all be certified in ALICE training in the next 3 years.
But until then, the school district will continue to do several drills with staff and students throughout the year to make sure they’re prepared for the worst.