SRU to utilize ALICE approach during April 19 emergency drill


Police line graphic

April 9, 2018

Editors' note: This story is the second in a series regarding Slippery Rock University's April 19 campus emergency drill.

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, students, staff and officers from an estimated 4,200 school districts and 3,500 police departments across the United States have been taught a new method in reacting to the threat of an active shooter on their campus. That reaction can be summarized in one word: ALICE.

ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, is a proactive training program that prepares persons to handle and respond to the threat of an intruder or active shooter by empowering people to use building and infrastructure technology and human action to increase their chances of survival.

Cheif Simmons


Given its wide use across the country, many Slippery Rock University students may be familiar with the approach and shouldn't be surprised that the University will utilize that approach during SRU's campuswide emergency drill that will occur between 8-10 a.m., April 19.

In a more defined manner, the ALICE acronym is meant to be a simple and basic life-saving strategy:

-A: Alert. Notify the people within the danger zone about the life-threatening risk.
-L: Lockdown. Barricade your area and prepare to evacuate or counter if needed.
-I: Inform. Relay continuous, accurate information to responders about the incident.
-C: Counter. Challenge the attacker and regain control (this is the last resort).
-E: Evacuate. Remove yourself from the area of the threat as soon as it is safe to do so.

The program was created by Greg Crane, a former law enforcement officer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, following the events at Columbine. With more than 30 years' experience as a police officer and violence response trainer, Crane is recognized as one of the country's foremost school safety and active shooter specialists.

ALICE was the first training program in the country that provided staff and students with an option-based, proactive response to an active shooter gaining entry into a school or business.

"ALICE was originally configured for the K-12 sector, but was quickly adopted by colleges, universities and hospitals," said Mike Simmons, SRU's University Police Chief. "The program had a solid foundation so it only made sense that it would bleed over into other areas as well."

"(University Police) will be scheduling ALICE workshops to provide training and knowledge to the entire campus community - faculty, staff and students - in the coming months so that everyone is working with the same base of knowledge," Simmons said.

According to the ALICE website, individuals should be prepared for active shooter events and empowered to make their own life-saving decisions.

"Once empowered to make their own life-saving decisions, individuals must be trained in proactive active shooter response options, rather than a passive, mandated, one-size-fits-all response," the site says. "We want all Americans to have the knowledge and skills to survive when shots are fired. We can achieve this by training as many people as possible and implementing training in drill form across all organizations. We have seen the successful results of fire drills. It's time to start anticipating man-made disasters."


SRU adopted the ALICE approach three years ago and have four officers that are certified ALICE trainers.

The April 19 drill activities will occur in and around Swope Music Hall and will involve a mock emergency situation to which University Police, campus units and the Slippery Rock Borough Fire Department, EMS and Police will respond. Music department personnel have been notified and are involved with the planning for the drill.

As it would in the case of a "real" event, the University's e2Campus alert system will be utilized to inform the campus about what is happening and what people are expected to do.

Persons that have not already signed up to receive SRU's emergency alerts from e2Campus can do so by clicking here.

In preparation for the drill, students, faculty and staff are advised to review the information provided in the "SRU Emergency Procedures Guidelines for Employees, Students and Visitors," The guide can be found by clicking here.

All students, faculty and staff will be asked to participate in the drill by following instructions that will be provided to all constituents via the e2campus and Metis emergency communication systems. These systems will be used throughout the drill to keep the campus informed prior to, during and at the end of the drill. An "all clear" message will be sent at the conclusion of the drill.

Following the conclusion of the drill, normal campus activities will resume.

For additional details regarding the April 19 campus emergency drill, contact Novak at: 724.738.2465 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |