An active shooter is a person who is using a firearm or other weapon with the intent to injure or kill others. Law enforcement personnel will deploy to the location of the active shooter with the primary goal of stopping the shooter.
An active shooter incident can occur under a variety of circumstances, so no one set of guidelines is able to cover specific actions to take in every situation. Even so, familiarity with the following information can help with planning your own survival strategy in a variety of incidents.
When an active shooter is OUTSIDE your building or room:
- If unable to escape the area safely, proceed to a room that can be locked. On your way to escape or shelter, tell as many people as possible to do the same.
- Lock all doors and windows, turn off the lights and silence your mobile phones.
- When safe to do so, call 911 and be prepared to advise the dispatcher of:
- Your location.
- Your name.
- The number of people in the room with you.
- Any and all information about the shooter and the shooter’s actions and location.
- Remain in the room until advised by law enforcement personnel to exit the building. Do not respond to unidentified or unrecognized voice commands.
- Officers will enter your building and check each room. If you have not been contacted within one hour, call 911 for further instructions.
When an active shooter is INSIDE your building:
- Locate the nearest exit and determine whether you can exit the building safely.
- If you can safely leave the building, do so by following the instructions listed below under “How to exit a building safely.”
- If you cannot escape, determine if the room you are in or near can be locked or otherwise secured. If so, follow the procedures as indicated above.
When an active shooter enters your office or classroom:
- Attempt to escape the area if you can.
- If you cannot escape, attempt to overpower the shooter with force or an improvised weapon.
How to exit a building safely:
- Have a route planned before attempting to leave.
- Do not attempt to carry anything with you while fleeing.
- Move quickly as you exit the building. If you encounter the police, show your hands and follow their commands.
- Do not attempt to treat or remove injured people, but note their locations so that you may provide the information to emergency responders.
- Proceed to a safe location, but do not leave campus unless directed to do so. Keep in mind that the entire area is still a crime scene, and officers will need to obtain information from you before you leave.
- Remain at the designated assembly area until you are released.
- Always comply with commands from law enforcement officers.
What to expect from responding officers:
Police officers responding to an active shooter may be wearing regular uniforms, special tactical gear or sometimes plain clothes with a visible badge, but they will be clearly identified as law enforcement officers.
- Responding officers will point firearms at you while seeking the threat. This is a normal part of their training and response. Avoid any sudden furtive movements and obey all officer commands. Keep your hands visible to officers at all times.
- Responding officers are trained to proceed immediately to the area where shooting is taking place to neutralize the threat. If you are injured, they will not stop to assist you.
- Remain calm and immediately comply with all commands from law enforcement officers.