Daphne city employees listen to instructions on how to deal with a mass shooting situation. The exercise was held Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Daphne Civic Center.
By Guy Busby, firstname.lastname@example.org
DAPHNE – Surveillance camera video showed people running or hiding as two men with guns walked through a school hall.
A 911 operator could be heard trying to talk to a caller who was not responding. Screams and shots were heard in the background.
Daphne city employees watched the scene Wednesday, Nov. 17, as part of a municipal drill on dealing with mass shooting incidents.
Daphne Police Detective Dejuan Jackson said the incident recorded took about 10 minutes from the time the recording began until the shooters killed themselves. Mass shooting incidents happen fast and leave little time for those caught up in the event to decide how to respond.
“What should we do? What’s the right thing to do in this moment?” Jackson asked.
Daphne Police Officer Jaime Huffman, school resource officer at Daphne Middle School, said the usual reaction of many people is the wrong thing to do. People tend to crowd together during such times, which offers an easy target for shooters.
She said one standard technique for training for shooting emergencies is known as ALICE – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
When it appears that a shooting is taking place or could take place, an alert should be sent out at once in plain language, she said. Coded terms over an announcement system could confuse people.
She said shots fired in a building might sound like a door slamming or other noise to some people.
In lockdown, people should take shelter if they cannot get out of the building, Huffman said. Doors should be barricaded. Anyone inside should stand away from the entrance if they are not needed to hold the door shut. Shooters know they have a limited time to act before the police arrive and may not take time to break down a door. They might, however fire through the door.
Another step in the ALICE technique is “Inform,” Huffman said. If possible, people should call 911 and tell the operator what is going on and provide as much information about the situation as possible without putting themselves or others in more danger.
The next step, if possible, is “Counter.” In some situations, groups of victims might be able to overpower a shooter, she said.
Anything that can be done to take control away from the shooter and to throw off his plans, however, can help save lives. Scattering and running usually works better than standing still in groups.
“It’s harder to hit a target that’s moving,” she said.
Most shooters know they have a few minutes before the police arrive and do not expect people to run, fight back or do anything that could distract them, such as screaming or throwing things.
The final step is evacuate. “If you can leave, leave,” Huffman said. “You always need to be thinking about where the exits are.”
The drill was held as part of ongoing safety training programs for Daphne employees, city officials said.