Are you prepared in the case of an active shooter in the workplace?

Sharon Schuler Kreps
The goal is survival. At the end of the day, I want everybody to go home.” 
Deputy Chad Whaley


CULLMAN – Deputy Chad Whaley of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office presented a unique training seminar at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. The event concentrated on safety measures and protocols individuals can utilize in the event of workplace violence.

ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training prepares individuals to handle the threat of an active shooter situation. It teaches individuals to participate in their own survival, while leading others to safety. Though no one can guarantee success in this type of situation, Whaley told the class that this new set of skills will greatly increase the odds of survival should anyone face this form of violence.

“An active shooter is an individual who is actively engaged in killing or trying to kill people in a populated or confined area,” said Whaley. “Most cases, the active shooter is using a firearm and their choice of victims is random. The goal is survival. At the end of the day, I want everybody to go home.”

According to Whaley, killers are looking for two things: time and victims. The more time they have the more destruction and killing they can cause. They want a high body count.  From the time the first 9-1-1 call is made, the average response time from police is about eight minutes, Whaley shared.

“Police, fire and EMS have been historically referred to as first responders,” he explained. “The truth is, when an extreme act of violence occurs; the true first responders are the people present, potentially YOU!”

  • ALERT – When you first become aware of a threat. The sooner you understand that you’re in danger, the sooner you can save yourself. A speedy response is critical. Seconds count. Alert is overcoming denial, recognizing the signs of danger and receiving notifications about the danger from others. Alerts should be accepted, taken seriously and should help you make survival decisions based on your circumstances.
  • LOCKDOWN – If evacuation is not a safe option, barricade the door into your room in an effort to create a semi-secure environment. Lockdown alone is no longer sufficient; however, it is still a great tool. Think barricade; look for other escape routes.
  • INFORM – If possible, provide everyone with real time updates. Provide the who, what, where, of the event. Use plain language and give out updated details. This allows for those involved in the situation to make good decisions as to what to do next.
  • COUNTER – This is pure survival mode. Create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. What do you have available to use as a weapon? Can you think of at least four things? Know this ahead of time. Make a plan.
  • EVACUATE – When safe to do so, remove yourself from the danger zone. Make sure to stay alert to the updated information; this can change lockdown to evacuate. It is important to have a follow-up location/meeting area for when the incident is over.

“Remember, Anything Beats Nothing (ABN),” Whaley stated. “Do whatever you have to do to go home. Stay alert; always look for escape routes, lockdown/barricade spots and available weapons. Prevent freezing up in a situation by always planning and preparing for the worst situation imaginable. Be careful, but when you can’t be careful, BE VIOLENT!”

At the end of the ALICE training seminar, people felt a little more confident in what to do if they are ever involved with the unthinkable. For more information about the program, or if you would like to schedule an ALICE seminar at your business, contact Whaley, who is also the school resource officer for Cullman County Schools, by calling the sheriff’s office at 256-734-0342 or by emailing him at