I’m a member of my local neighborhood watch group and we have meetings every 2 to 3 months. I went to one on Sunday with my 10-year-old son and it was eye-opening, for both of us. The sheriff assigned to our area gave a presentation that was a shortened form of the 4-hour ALICE training the sheriff’s department gives to schools and businesses. ALICE is an acronym or a set of tools to allow someone to respond to an active shooter situation.

The sheriff (a woman) “rounded the corners” because my son was there and there were two other kids there about his same age. She walked through scenarios and people asked questions about how the shooter situation at the Parkland, Florida, school compared to other high-profile events. It was scary as well as informative.

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown/Barricade, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. She walked through each of the letters and explained the responses for each. The part that my son was most interested in was Counter. For that, she told a story she told about a school in Washington that gave each student a can of Progresso soup to keep in their desks. The idea was that if a threatening person came into their classroom the students would through their soup at them. This would disrupt the shooter’s thinking, possibly make them fall, be hurt, drop their weapon, etc, and the students would be able to escape or neutralize the threat.

After that, when we were walking home, my son said he would keep a rock in his backpack in case anything like that ever happened. He picked up a rock and called it his “safety rock” and put it in his pocket. If there’s an incident, will my son’s “safety rock” help him? The sheriff said that ALICE training is scheduled for my son’s school in the fall. Will anyone else know what to do in the case of an active shooter before they get the training?

The whole point of ALICE is to provide additional responses other than evacuate, which is what has been drilled into kids through fire drills from the time they’re kindergartners, and lockdowns, which puts a classroom of students in grave danger if a shooter does enter the room.

Since this site is about survival, let’s give our kids the tools they need to survive. I don’t think I would have talked with my son about ALICE had the situation not come up in this neighborhood watch meeting. Ask your kids if they’ve had ALICE training at their schools. If not, learn more yourself at ALICETraining.com and talk to them about it yourself. If you have the means or the time, consider setting up an ALICE training session in your community.

If there’s an incident at my son’s school, his “safety rock” might not help him. But it might. And it’s better than nothing. And, it means he’s thought some things through, and that will give him the highest chances of survival.