- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) - Shots echoed through the halls of a Hampton elementary school this week as authorities trained staff about how to respond to a school shooter.

Two rounds of gunshot blanks, one from a rifle and another from a handgun, were fired in Hampton-Dumont’s South Side Elementary School on Wednesday as a part of ALICE training, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1ATr2Zv ).

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. It’s a training program used when an armed intruder enters any of the district’s buildings.

The gunshots occurred during the district’s weekly professional development, and no students were present. Teachers remained in their classrooms and could keep their door closed or open.

Through the training program, staff workers learn a number of procedures, including how to evacuate, communicate which parts of a building are safe and how to barricade themselves in a room. They also learn what a gunshot sounds like in a district’s building.

“If you don’t know what you’re hearing, there’s a delay in responding,” said Joel Heuer, liaison officer for the district who oversees the training. “If you know ahead of time what it sounds like, then you can react more quickly.”

Superintendent Todd Lettow said he was apprehensive about firing guns in school buildings but understood the training would be beneficial. He said it was likely some teachers had never heard a gunshot before.

“What I’ve learned from this is we train, we prepare and we practice for events that hopefully don’t ever happen,” he said.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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