WAYNE COUNTY—Since 1982, there have been 114 mass shootings in the United States, an average of three each year.

Between 2010 and today, there were 62 incidents of mass shooting, nearly three times as many as the 21 the decade before.

While addressing the causes and solutions for the subject is an oft debated and highly contentious topic of discussion, one thing is clear: protection and prevention measures are increasingly important.

Helping county workers prepare should such a tragedy occur in Wayne County, Deputy Sheriff Nick Sanseverino recently received his certification as an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) certified instructor for active shooter scenarios.

Sanseverino explained the ALICE program is “geared toward civilians” with the aim to show there are more options available than just locking down.

“If you're hunkered down, all you are is a sitting duck,” said Sanseverino.

He noted recent studies show a proactive response which incorporates circumstance-based plans for evacuation and countering the shooter as a last resort can be more beneficial than passive, hide-only strategies.

According to the abstract of “One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional Lockdown Versus Multi-option Responses to School Shootings,” a 2018 study from Dr. Cheryl Lero Johnson of Xavier University, Dr. Melissa Moon of Northern Kentucky University and Joseph A. Hendry of the ALICE Training Institute, “Drills informed by the multi-option response paradigm were found to end more quickly and result in fewer people being shot.”

According to the ALICE Training Institute website, the program teaches how to become aware of an attack and take the danger seriously without panicking while assessing the situation to see if evacuation is possible.

Other aspects involve lockdown with the erection of barricades if evacuation is not possible and countering the shooter with distractions and a “dynamic environment” to minimize accuracy if the shooter enters one's barricaded room, escape is not possible, and one's life is in imminent danger.

The program also encourages those in a safe place with the ability to monitor events to keep police, emergency responders and others informed throughout the entire shooter scenario.

The ALICE training “empowers you to be responsible for your own survival,” said Sanseverino.

Sanseverino is working on setting up training sessions with county workers in the near future.

“Hopefully it never has to be used,” he said, “but if it did, they [those trained] will have the knowledge and the skills to figure out what's going on and how to react.”

More information about the ALICE Training Institute is available online: https://www.alicetraining.com.