Statewide active shooter response plan released by Governor - Montgomery Alabama news.

Statewide active shooter response plan released by Governor

Police say mentally preparing yourself for an active shooting situation is key. Police say mentally preparing yourself for an active shooting situation is key.

An official statewide plan is now in place for preventing and responding to an active shooter situation. Governor Robert Bentley released the comprehensive strategic plan Wednesday for the entire state to follow.

It's broken down into three sections that detail how the public can react, training for law enforcement, and preparations for schools.

For the public, the statewide protocol is following the slogan "run, hide, fight," as seen in a popular public safety video originally developed in Houston.

You are urged to first run if a shooter shows up, leave your belongings behind, and then call 911 once you are safe.

If you cannot safely evacuate, you are urged next to hide by locking yourself in a room, blockading a door, silencing your cell phone, and staying quiet.

If you cannot hide or are found, you are urged to fight as a last resort if your life is in danger. You should act aggressively, improvise weapons, and commit to your actions.

Police say mentally preparing yourself for a situation like this is key.

"That is the single most important thing. You have got to have an idea of what you are going to do, how you are going to respond and work from that. If you haven't wrapped your mind about what you would do, and somebody begins to shoot or attacks you, then you are already behind the power curve on it," said Captain John Stringer with the Madison Police Department.

For law enforcement, the goal is to train every police officer and first responder the same. This cuts back on any chaos or confusion at a scene, as well as the time it takes to get organized and take action. The new statewide training protocol for law enforcement is the ALERRT program, or "Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training."

Officers are put in realistic situations to learn tactics for entering a building, moving down hallways, breaking down doors, and maintaining communication. The goal is to keep it simple and use tactics that work in most situations, for most people.

"The idea is if we keep it simple, then we can react with officers from a variety of agencies. We know we are going to be moving toward the sound of gunfire. We know we are going to take one of three or four different types of formations as we move down a hall, through an open area, or even across a field. We know those are the tactics we are going to use," explained Stringer.

For schools, the new statewide protocol is a program called Virtual Alabama. It's a database that works similarly to Google Earth and allows law enforcement and other first responders to quickly navigate a building. Schools map out the layout of the building and where everything is located. Every detail is included, from evacuation routes to the placement of fire extinguishers.

"One big element of this is having our school safety plans integrated into the system. Each school is a little different, so being able to access those with Virtual Alabama and for law enforcement to be able to look at those as well is critical," said Safety Manager with Huntsville City Schools Ben Bowden.

The plan is only for schools grades K-12. College campuses follow a different plan.

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