K-12 Active Shooter Defense: How AlerT compares to Standard Response Protocol

SafePlans’ AlerT (Assess, lockdown, evade, resist, Tell) is an active shooter defense and survival program that was specifically designed to align K-12 school with national best practices. Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is a program that attempts to standardize terminology and actions associated with emergencies.


Emergency Response Training Designed for All-Hazards

AlerT training addresses all five areas of Preparedness as they relate to human based threats. These five areas are:

  • Prevention
  • Protection
  • Mitigation
  • Response
  • and Recovery

AlerT is designed to compliment existing all-hazards emergency plans.


Best Practice Active Shooter Training

AlerT provides options, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Education, FEMA and the Department of Justice.

SRP is not in line with current active shooter response best practices.

Response Terminology

SRP uses the following terms to account for school emergencies:

  • Lockout, Lockdown
  • Evacuate, Shelter

During an emergency, “lockdown” and “lockout” are easily confused and not plain language instructions. Furthermore, SRP depends heavily on top down notification, a concept that has failed in many school shootings.

AlerT empowers all staff to respond immediately to a dangerous situation and emphasizes the use of plain language during an emergency. Terms like “Lockout” and “Lockdown” not only sound familiar, under stress people may not be able to differentiate their meaning.  For an actual active shooter-type attack, AlerT trains staff to use plan language to describe the situation so people can determine their best options.

In the event of non-active shooter-type threats, AlerT encourages the use of “Heightened Security” measures over code phrases like “Lockout.” The phrase “Heightened Security” better defines the situation and will not be confused with an actual active shooter attack. For a non-human threat like fire and severe weather, AlerT integrates with the schools existing all-hazards emergency plans.


Active Shooter Defense System


Active Shooter Prevention

As the name indicates, Alert integrates situational awareness for staff, the role of physical security in schools and predicting violent behavior (threat assessment) into a comprehensive prevention strategy.

SRP does not address prevention.


Active Shooter Survival Options

AlerT uses Survival Options as recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Education, FEMA and the Department of Justice.  FEMA’s 2013 “Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plan” clearly outlines these options.  However, AlerT does not recommend the training of K-12 students in the Fight or Resist option.

SRP is reliant upon the lockdown concept to compartmentalize students and staff from an active shooter or active killer. The problem with this approach is a lockdown does not help the people who are at the greatest risk. These are the people who have direct contact with the attacker and those in areas which cannot be secured.


 How does AlerT compare to Standard Response Protocol?


  AlerT SRP
All-hazards Compatible Yes No
National Best Practice Yes No
FEMA, Dept. of Homeland Security & U.S. Department of Education endorsed options. Yes No
Uses Plain Language Yes No


Be AlerT!

Contact SafePlans to learn more about AlerT and how active shooter defense can integrate into your existing all-hazards emergency plans.


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