ALICE training workshops teach emergency preparedness tips

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Kent Police Officer Vance Voyles prepares to teach an ALICE training class Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Connor Everett

When you’re in a lecture in a room with a single exit and hear what you believe to be gunshots outside the room, how do you go about guaranteeing the safety of you and your classmates? Kent’s A.L.I.C.E. Workshops suggests finding the nearest bra.

Kent State mandates that every student must complete training in ALICE; or alert, lockdown, information, counter and evacuation. These are information sessions designed to help students survive an active shooter on campus as a part of Kent State’s student success programs.

One of these sessions took place on Wednesday and was led by Kent State police officer Vance Voyles. A major theme of the discussion was how students carry around everyday items that have life-saving applications in active shooter situations.

A bra has the strength and elasticity to be wrapped around door handles and keep the shooter outside of the room, Voyles said. A backpack or your elbow is often hard enough to break a window to create an alternate escape route when students are flooding toward a single one. A tampon is perfect for clotting gunshot wounds.

Should the shooter get in the room, Voyles said there are even more options at your disposal. I saw this firsthand when he called me to the front of the room to volunteer as an active shooter with a water gun he handed me.

I was standing at the front of the room, water gun in hand, pointing it at the students. Voyles handed three more students small foam balls and instructed that they toss them at me while I aim my gun.

I tried to dodge them. While I tried, Voyles pointed out to the students that while I was dodging, the barrel of my water gun couldn’t stay trained on them.

He said if you have to fight as a last resort, throwing objects like cell phones and backpacks to incite the shooter’s natural instinct to protect himself can save lives.

While Voyles provided many tips on how to stay alive, he said the most urgent thing is to call the police.

“We want you to call us when you see somebody suspicious,” he said.

Junior integrated social studies major John Strasshofer attended the workshop and saw the importance of a sense of urgency.

“I think my most important takeaway is to be quick,” Strasshofer said. “Don’t debate, just act.”

The workshops are an hour and a half long and students can sign up online.

Connor Everett covers recruiting and retention. Contact him at [email protected]