BRISTOL — An active threat drill planned for early next week at Bristol School will result in a significant law enforcement, fire and rescue presence during normal school hours.
Members of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Bristol Fire and Rescue personnel are working with the school to conduct an ALICE training exercise.
They met with staff, students and parents at an assembly Thursday to help them understand what will be taking place the day of the drill and give them an opportunity to ask questions.
Administrator Michael Juech said the agencies brought examples of the tactical gear they will be wearing and informed students of what to expect. Students also got to tour the Mobile Command Center.
“We have been working with (these agencies) since January to develop this safety drill,” Juech said. “The purpose of this event is to evaluate the current practices, test and evaluate emergency communication practices and continue to build working partnerships with first responders in the community.”
Teachers and staff know which day the training will take place, but the time is not being disclosed in an effort to simulate the threat that an active shooter is in the building.
It is as much a drill for the staff and students as it is for the emergency responders.
“Having the partnerships that we develop through these drills is huge,” Bristol Fire Chief John Niederer said. “Making these connections in advance is important to help make things go more smoothly in the event of an actual emergency.”
Teachers, staff and students will practice a set of proactive responses encouraged through the ALICE program. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
However, these key steps do not need to follow in this sequential order. This approach is meant to provide options for response and a quick reaction as there is no particular response that fits all active threat situations.
Juech said the agencies will evaluate the response after the drill to determine what went well and what they can do better.
Lt. Tony Gonzalez, public information officer for the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, said “a collaborative, proactive effort from multiple disciplines” is essential for effective preparedness and response.
“While having a contingency plan is essential, a policy without an exercise or test to measure and evaluate it is merely a concept,” Gonzalez said. “It’s during minimal-risk, high-return safety exercises like the one that we can help transform theory into valuable, actionable items.”
This leads to better working relationships with all the agencies participating, better training standards, and “highlights the areas to improve that may impede an adequate response,” Gonzalez said.