An "Active Shooter" is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 5-15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Coping with an active shooter situation
There are three basic options: RUN, HIDE or FIGHT. Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that others will follow the lead of employees, faculty, staff, or management during an active shooter situation. We highly recommend you watch this valuable video for additional information.
1. Run. Evacuate: If an escape route is accessible, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:
Have an escape route and plan in mind
Evacuate regardless of other's decisions to stay or follow
Leave belongings behind
Assist others escaping, if possible
Prevent individuals from entering the area where the active shooter may be, warn people
Keeps hands visible to Law Enforcement
Follow first responders instructions, police, etc.
2. Hide out. If evacuation/escape is not possible, find a place to hide where an active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:
Be out of the shooter's line of sight or view.
Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., closed and locked door of office or closet)
Not trap you or restrict options for movement
To help prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
Lock all doors
Barricade the door if possible, with available items (i.e. heavy furniture, etc.)
If the active shooter is within your vicinity:
Lock the door
Silence all cell phones, pagers, radios, or other devices, etc.
Turn off sources of noise such as TVs, radios, etc.
Conceal yourself behind large objects such as bookcases, desks, etc.
Remain silent, limit movement which creates noise
3. Fight: take action against an active shooter
Take last resort measures for survival when facing imminent injury or death. Attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:
Acting aggressively towards the shooter/engaging in physical attack
Throwing items or using improvised weapons
Staying committed to your actions
Do not let up until shooter is incapacitated or disrupted
How to respond when law enforcement arrives:
Arriving law enforcement's first priority is to engage and stop the active shooter as soon as possible.
• Officers will form up and immediately proceed to engage the active shooter, moving towards the sound of
• Officers will group into teams of four to engage if possible.
• Arriving officers may be from various agencies and have different uniforms, equipment, and other types of
vehicles, some not marked.
• Officers may have various types of weapons, i.e., handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles.
• Officers may deploy tear gas or pepper spray to control the situation.
• Officers may shout commands and push people down on the ground for their safety.
Your attention to law enforcement officers is vital for survival:
Remain calm and follow officers' instructions
Put down any handheld items, i.e., bags, backpacks, jackets, etc.
Immediately raise hands/spread fingers
Keep hands visible at all times
Avoid making quick movements towards officers or grabbing onto them
Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling at officers
DO NOT stop and ask officers for directions or help when evacuating, just proceed in the direction where officers are entering
Information to provide law enforcement or 911 call taker:
Accurate and relevant information to law enforcement is vital for active shooter mitigation and can be provided to on-scene police or 911 call takers.
Location of the active shooter
Number of active shooters
Physical description of active shooter(s)
Clothing, height, weight, hair color, type of weapons
Distinguishing characteristics i.e., mask worn, wearing tactical equipment, etc. Number of weapons and types/explosive type devices in area
Number of potential victims at the location
Arriving officers will not stop to help injured persons. Their initial response is to stop the active shooter so be cognizant of this. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and other emergency medical personnel to follow the initial response officers.The rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may call upon able-bodied individuals to assist them in removing the wounded from the premises.
Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control and secure and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. DO NOT leave until released by law enforcement authorities.