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Campus Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness

Guide to Emergency Preparedness: Active Shooter

In an active shooter situation, quickly determine if you are in danger and decide on the safest course of action to protect your life. You should:

A. Run: if there is an accessible escape path, try to leave;

B. Hide: if leaving is not possible, find a place to hide and prepare to fight for your life; and

C. Fight: as a last resort, disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter.

A. Run

  1. Run if there is an accessible escape path.
  2. Warn individuals not to enter an area where the shooter may be.
  3. Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  4. Leave the area regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  5. Help others escape, if possible.
  6. Keep your hands open and visible.
  7. Follow the instructions of any emergency responders.
  8. Do not try to move anyone who has been hurt.
  9. Call 911 when it is safe to do so and provide the following information:
  • Location of the shooter;
  • Number of shooters, if more than one;
  • Physical description of the shooter(s);
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s); and
  • Number of possible victims at the location.

B. Hide

  1. Hide if running or escaping is not possible.
  2. Quickly choose the best space available, where you’ll be protected from gunfire, for example behind a brick wall or other solid object.
  3. Your hiding place should:
  • Be out of the shooter’s view;
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction; and
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement.

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place and keep yourself safe while hiding:

  1. Lock the door.
  2. Block the door with heavy furniture.
  3. Move away from windows.
  4. Stay quiet and turn off your cell phone. (Even the vibration setting can give away a hiding position.)
  5. Prepare to fight.

C. Fight

  1. As your last option, disrupt, distract, and/or attack the shooter.
  2. Act as aggressively as possible toward the shooter.
  3. Throw items at the shooter and use heavy objects as weapons.
  4. Don’t give up. 

Arrival of Emergency Responders/Law Enforcement

When emergency responders arrive, it is important that you:

  1. Keep calm and follow instructions;
  2. Put down any items and immediately raise your hands while spreading your fingers;
  3. Avoid making any sudden movements;
  4. Keep your hands visible at all times; and
  5. After you reach a safe location or assembly point, cooperate by providing information to investigators. 

Things to remember in an active shooter situation:

  • Remember that the primary goal of emergency responders/law enforcement in this situation will be to eliminate the threat and stop the active shooter as soon as possible.
  • First responders will not stop to help injured people until it is safe.
  • Responders will take command of the situation and may shout orders and push people to the ground for their safety.
  • Knowing what to expect will help you assist responders as they eliminate the threat.