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Active Shooter

Active shooters are very unpredictable and create chaos and panic at the location, thus making it difficult to establish one specific plan of action. You must be aware of certain guidelines when making your decisions; any action you take must be your own decision.  Also, always be aware of your surroundings, environment, and options before an emergency occurs.  Ask yourself, “What if?” questions and develop a plan.  Develop a Survival Mindset.

  • If confronted, do not aggravate the suspect.
  • Remain calm and understanding.
  • Create time and distance.


Make a decision, trusting your instincts, to take action to protect yourself to survive the situation.  You generally will have three options:

  • Run (evacuate): Can you safely escape?
  • Hide: Is there a good place to hide out or secure-in-place?
  • Fight: Will you take out the shooter?

RUN (Evacuate)

  • If you can and you deem it safe, get out and get to a safe place. You will have to rely partially on instinct.
  • Leave belongings behind, but take your cell phone if it is handy.
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safe (see Calling For Help Checklist below)

HIDE (Secure-in-place)

  • Find a hidden location.
  • Find protection behind furniture if possible.
  • Find a room that locks if you can.
  • If possible, close and lock the outside door to the room.
  • Blockade the door with furniture or other heavy objects.
  • Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, silence cell phones, spread out away from other individuals, and move behind available cover.
  • Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.
  • Turn off any sounds


  •  Make a plan with others in the room about what you will do if the shooter enters.
  •  Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others.
  • Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.
  • If possible and safe to do so, report the location of the assailant.


  •  Drop to the ground immediately, face down as flat as possible. If within 15-20 feet of a safe place or cover, duck and run to it.
  •  Move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire. Remember that many objects of cover may conceal you from sight, but may not be bulletproof.
  • When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down and do not move. Do not peek or raise your head in an effort to see what may be happening.
  • Wait and listen for directions from Public Safety and/law enforcement personnel.


  •  An individual must use his/her own discretion about when he or she must engage a shooter for survival.
  •  Generally, one can lie motionless and pretend to be unconscious or confront the individual.
  •  Make a plan as to how you will survive the situation.
  •  Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others if possible.
  • Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.


  •  Warn others.
  •  Help others escape.
  • Keep others away from the danger area.
  • Help the injured.
  • Help others stay calm


If safe to do so, call the appropriate authorities. DO NOT assume that someone else has reported the incident.

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Be persistent; phones may be jammed due to high call volume from other concerned Faculty Students, Staff & Visitors.
  • Only dial University Security Dispatch (426-6911) if unable to get through to 9-1-1
  • Calmly identify yourself and your exact location.
  • Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions.
  • The dispatcher is trained to obtain the necessary and required information for an appropriate emergency response.

If safe to do so, stop and take time to get a good description of the criminal.

  • Note height, weight, sex, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and his/her name, if known.
  • If the suspect is entering a vehicle, note the license plate number, make and model, color, and outstanding characteristics.
  • All of this takes only a few seconds and is of the utmost help to the responding officers.


  •  When law enforcement reaches you, do not run at them or make sudden movements.
  •  The priority of the first responders will be to identify the shooter. Law enforcement will need to ensure that you are not the shooter.
  •  Do not scream, yell, point, or wave your arms.
  •  Do not hold anything in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon (including cell phones).
  •  Be quiet and compliant.
  •  Show the officers your empty hands and follow their instructions.
  •  Give the number of shooters.
  • Give the location and physical description of the shooter.
  • Give the number and types of weapons.
  • When it is safe to do so, you will be given instructions as to how to safely exit your location.

Additional Training Resources

Run, Hide, Fight. Homeland Security/FEMA Video (5 Minutes)

Emergency Management Institute Independent Study Courses: These are free online courses that take about 30 minutes; you even receive a training certificate after taking the online test!