What Active Shooter Response Should You Follow? (ALICE vs Run. Hide Fight.)

Having an active shooter responseplan is a must nowadays.

Seeing an active shooter situation in the news is not something at all surprising anymore.

It happens in schools, offices, and even retail stores!


Source: abc7news.com

So while having an active shooter plan is a no-brainer, you might be wondering which active shooter plan you should follow.

ALICE training and the Run. Hide. Fight. Protocol from the FBI are the two most popular ones.

Both are great protocols for active shooter situations of course, but you might be wondering:

“Which of these active shooter responses is better for my specific needs?”

In today's article, we're going to have a look at both ALICE and Run. Hide. Fight., and their differences.

We'll also help you decide which is the best protocol for you.

Let's dive in!

What's the Difference Between ALICE and Run. Hide. Fight.?

While both protocols have the same goal, ALICE is a system geared more towards a collective response from everyone in the danger zone. Meanwhile, Run. Hide. Fight. is a set of principles that individuals can apply when in active shooter situations.

We'll explain what we mean in a little bit, but first, let's have a look at the exact protocols.

What is ALICE Training?

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

It's a system that is designed to help save lives before law enforcement arrives.

Alert - Whenever active shooters start attempting to kill people, it is vital to alert everyone in the area what is going on. When people know there is danger, they have a much better chance of survival.

Lockdown - One of the best ways to survive an active shooter killing or attempting to kill people is to lock yourself in a room and hide.

That is why when there is an alert, and it is not safe to evacuate yet, going on lockdown and waiting for law enforcement officers to arrive is the safest thing to do.

One of the best practices is to barricade your door the moment you get an active shooter alert. Using a door barricading device like the Sleeve (for outward-swinging doors) or the Rampart (for inward-swinging doors) will make it extremely difficult for the shooter to break in.

Inform - ALICE is geared more towards a collective response. The I stands for Inform, which means to communicate with others exactly where the shooter is (but only when it is safe to do so).

When people know exactly where the active shooters are, they can make much better decisions on how to stay safe, or prepare themselves for C, counter.

Counter - Counter does NOT mean attacking the shooter. Active shooters use firearms, so fighting them should only be a last resort option.

What counter means is creating a distraction, such as noise and movement, to decrease the shooter's ability to hit his targets while they run away.

Counter should only be used when the shooter is in a confined and populated area, and there is no other option.

Evacuate - While E, evacuate, is the last letter of the acronym, this does NOT mean it is the last thing people should do.

Whenever it is safe to do so, people should evacuate from the premises with the active shooter immediately.

But this must ONLY be done when you are SURE it is safe to leave.

When people are informed (I) on what is going on, they can make a much safer call on when it is safe to evacuate (E) their lockdown (L) hiding place.

Note: when evacuating, always remember to make your way towards law enforcement officers with your hands visible! 

ALICE training drills are provided to both schools and businesses by professionals to help prepare everyone what to do when an individual actively engaged in assault is in their premises.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable. But when everyone knows what to do, the chances of survival are much, much higher.

That is why ALICE training is one of the go-to protocols when it comes to business, retail, and school safety.

What is Run. Hide. Fight.?

Run. Hide. Fight. Is a set of principles created by the FBI that helps people know what to do when they find themselves in an active shooter situation.

Unlike ALICE, there are no official RHF drills. You can, of course, create your own RHF system and conduct your own drills in your school or office.

But RHF is really designed to be flexible. Shooting events are unpredictable and evolve quickly. With RHF, people can decide for themselves what the best thing to do based on their situation.

Run - When there is an active shooter in the area, the best thing you can do is to run as far away as you can.

Most of the time, the shooter is an individual. So if you can get away from him/her, you'll be safe.

However, it is vital to make sure it is safe to run first. If you are inside an office or classroom, and unsure if the shooter is just outside in the hallway, it's best to move to Hide instead.

Hide - If you can't get away from the danger, the next best thing to do is to stay low and hide safely.

Most active shooting events don't last more than 5 minutes. Police officers arrive relatively quickly after immediate deployment, and the danger passes.

One of the best places to hide is inside a room with a barricaded door.

Unless there is a specific target in mind, most active shooters won't waste their time trying to break down a door that won't budge.

That is why using tools like the Sleeve or Rampart will greatly increase your chances of survival when you are in Hide mode.

Fight - People in a confined space with a shooter have only one option left: fight.

Like ALICE training, this is once again the last resort option. You only fight someone with a gun when you absolutely cannot run or hide.

To fight a shooter, it's best to use a makeshift weapon. A solid object like a chair or a fire extinguisher is a great aid when going against someone with a gun.

As you can see, Run. Hide. Fight. is a set of principles you can drill into your students or employees to help them make better decisions when there is an active shooting event.

And just like ALICE training, when people know these principles by heart, the chances of survival will always be much higher.

ALICE vs Run. Hide. Fight. - What's Better For Your Organization?

Both of these protocols can significantly mitigate harm.

But which one is better for you?

Generally speaking, ALICE is better suited for school campuses or large businesses where there are lots of people and plenty of rooms for the shooter to roam around.

For ALICE to work perfectly, there must be someone who can alert everyone on the premises of the danger - as well as inform them of the shooter's movement.

Without the A and I in ALICE (Alert and Inform), the LCE (lockdown, counter, evacuate) is really just another way of saying Run. Hide. Fight.

That is why ALICE is great as a protocol for campuses, office buildings, or even malls.

Run. Hide. Fight., on the other hand, is less organized, but better suited for smaller spaces. It is very flexible, allowing people to decide what they need to do based on the situation they find themselves in.

Again, you can take the principles of RHF and develop your own school-wide or office-wide protocol to make things more organized. In fact, that's exactly what ALICE is - a variation of RHF with a few extra steps.

Conclusion: The Best Active Shooter Response For You

When developing an active shooter response plan, it's important to take everything into consideration.

How big is your space? How many rooms are there? Can you communicate with everyone on the premises through loudspeakers?

All of these will help you develop a plan that works perfectly for you.

But whatever you come up with, one thing is for sure:

You'll need a good way to barricade your doors if ever you can't run away from the shooter, or you don't know where they are.

That's why we here at Fighting Chance Solutions - a company founded and run by teachers - have created both the Sleeve and the Rampart.

The Sleeve is the go-to outward-swinging door barricading device of hundreds of schools across the country.


Built from 12” gauge carbon steel, it is strong enough to withstand 550 lbs of force. That's enough to keep an intruder from kicking the door down.

Aside from strength, the Sleeve is also extremely easy to use. You can deploy it in as little as 2 seconds, and it requires no fine motor skills.

Time is crucial in active shooter situations. The faster you can barricade your door, the greater your chance of survival.

What shooter drills often teach is that you should barricade your door using heavy pieces of furniture. Or, in the case of outward-swinging doors, they teach you to tie the door-closer with a belt.

Both of these methods are not only slow, but they are difficult to get right. And you don't need us telling you the danger of having an unsecured door when there's a gunman nearby!

That's why the Sleeve is the best door security device for outward-swinging doors.

See how easy it is to deploy here:

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Meanwhile, the Rampart is designed for the inward-swinging doors commonly found in offices.


Despite weighing only 1 lb, this door security bar is capable of withstanding up to 650 lbs of force.

Like the Sleeve, is it also super easy to deploy. All you have to do is adjust, set, and kick to completely lock out intruders.

This saves you from having to move something like your desk or file cabinet in front of the door - which is not only difficult but can make a lot of noise as well!

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