Founded in 2013 by Bruce Childs, Lori O'Neill & Byron Childs

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, the Childs family formed Alternative Defense Strategies LLC to develop non-lethal defense products and training that empower ordinary people caught up in extraordinary violence to defend themselves without harming others.


     The unprecedented massacre of 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 was a wake-up call for many Americans, including the founders of Alternative Defense Strategies LLC.  

      ADS was started by three members of the Childs family in January 2013, soon after the events in Newtown, Connecticut. Bruce Childs, a commercial construction manager and father of two school-age boys, his sister Lori O’Neill, a marketing professional and gun violence prevention expert, and their nephew, Byron Childs, a police officer who responded to a school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, formed the company to give ordinary people the ability to defend themselves and others during violent attacks without harming bystanders.

      After more than a year of research and development, in November 2014, ADS introduced Safe Zone CM™ a patented, powerful, long-distance pepper gel defense system intended for use by civilians to disrupt violence during the critical period of time between when an attack starts and safety forces arrive, giving the people under attack an opportunity to evacuate or take down the assailant.  Safe Zone CM easily integrates into existing emergency response protocols, and with training, can be used effectively by people of all skill levels.

      Since its introduction, Safe Zone CM has become an integral part of the violence response protocol for schools, churches, manufacturers, municipal and county government offices, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations and many other types of businesses.       

      The Safe Zone CM line of non-lethal defense products is now available in five models, including wall-mounted cabinets with different access control options, a “Defend & Treat,” cabinet which includes a bleeding control kit to treat gunshot, knife or bomb victims until emergency medical professionals can take over care, and Safe Zone Go! a mobile version of the product.

      ADS provides proprietary training in the use of Safe Zone CM for all designated operators of the system, to integrate the products into existing emergency response protocols.  We also offer an instructor certification program to train-the-trainer for larger organizations and law enforcement professionals.