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Walmart, ALERRT partner to offer active shooter awareness program

By Diana Hendricks
University News Service
September 22, 2014

Walmart has partnered with the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training™ (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University (Texas State) to make the Avoid Deny Defend™ (ADD) active shooter awareness program available for associates. This is an unprecedented corporate effort to support Walmart’s associates and their communities.

Walmart’s adoption of the Avoid Deny Defend™ active shooter awareness program begins with an educational video which is being made available to more than one million Walmart U.S. associates. The video outlines the ALERRT Avoid Deny Defend strategy, a three-phase plan of action to assist civilians if ever faced with an active shooter situation. A website, AvoidDenyDefend.org, and a free mobile app by the same name are also available for those who want more in-depth knowledge of the vital program.

“The ALERRT program developed by Texas State University has quickly become the national training standard for law enforcement response to active shooter events,” said Steve Dozier, vice president of global security at Walmart.  “For our Associates, whether you work in a store, club, distribution center, or home office, your safety counts.  And being aware of what you can do matters.”

The ALERRT Center at Texas State University has trained more than 60,000 law enforcement officers across the nation in active shooter response since 2002, and ALERRT has been named the national standard for law enforcement active shooter response training by the FBI.

For more than a decade, as active shooter events have been on the rise, the primary focus has been teaching law enforcement how to respond quickly to stop threats and save lives.  Fire and EMS have recently begun participating in ALERRT training to further improve emergency response.  The gap that remains is empowering citizens who are caught up in these events before law enforcement arrives.

Research conducted by the ALERRT Center has shown that roughly half (49 percent) of these events are over prior to law enforcement’s arrival.  Average law enforcement response time to these events has been three minutes. 

Since 2004, the ALERRT Center has been training law enforcement officers across the nation in the Avoid Deny Defend civilian response strategy as a method to raise awareness in their communities. Diana Hendricks, Director of Communications for ALERRT Center at Texas State, explains that civilians can utilize this strategy regardless of location. The program is straightforward, easy to comprehend, and simple for citizens to share with family members, civic groups, church groups and others in the community. 

Avoid Deny Defend™ is a civilian response plan made up of three components:

  • A – Avoid.  This is the preferred option and begins with situational awareness of one’s environment prior to any active, hostile act occurring. It includes having a plan ahead of time of what you would do in the event of an active shooter and knowing escape routes. Avoid Danger.
  • D – Deny.  If avoidance isn’t possible, find ways to prevent the attacker from having access to you and others around you.  (Close/lock doors, barricade doorways with furniture, etc.). Deny Access.
  • D – Defend.  Take action!  As a last resort you have a right to defend yourself if you believe your life is in imminent danger.   Defend Yourself.

For more information regarding the Avoid Deny Defend™ Program or ALERRT at Texas State, please contact Diana Hendricks, Director of Communications, at (office) (512) 245-1744 or (cell) (512) 618-3373; or email Hendricks@alerrt.com.

For more information regarding the  Walmart adoption of the Avoid Deny Defend ™ program, please contact the Media Relations Hotline at 1-800-331-0085 or news.walmart.com/reporter.