Training educators what to do if a gunman is in the school.

March 9, 2015

003_alice_training_wsccSee video here

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

VICTORY TWP. — It’s easy to watch a school shooting on the news and think that it will never happen here. But, on a December morning in 2012, an angry Custer Twp. Fire Chief, John Allison, called newly elected Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. Allison (who passed away in 2013) had just watched the news story about a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Rich Ambrose of Covenant Christian school served as an acting gunman during the training.

Rich Ambrose of Covenant Christian school served as an acting gunman during the training.

“John Allison was a kind and soft spoken guy but the day I spoke with John he was mad,” Cole said. “He was upset about what had happened and he wanted some assurances from me as the sheriff elect that we were going to protect the kids in this county.”

From that conversation grew the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, County, Evacuate (ALICE) training, which teaches businesses and school officials on how to deal with a gunman situation in a school. Last Thursday and Friday, teachers, staff and administrators from area schools attended a training at West Shore Community College where they learned how to take precautions in the classroom, how to protect the students and, in some cases, how to fight back.

The training was funded with donations from Mason County United Way, Pennies from Heaven Foundation along with money from West Shore Educational Services District, West Shore Community College and Mason County School Safety Planning Team.

The purpose of ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training is to prepare individuals to handle the threat of an active shooter,” said Liz Reimink, Mason County Emergency Management coordinator. “ALICE teaches individuals to participate in their own survival, while leading others to safety. Though no one can guarantee success in this type of situation, this new set of skills will greatly increase the odds of survival should anyone face this form of disaster.”

Schools represented included WSCC, WSESD, Mason County Central, Mason County Eastern, Ludington Area Schools, Covenant Christian School, Ludington Area Catholic and Pentwater. Law enforcement represented included Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington Police Department, Scottville Police Department and Pentwater Police Department.