Active Shooter

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The best possible scenario is to intervene before a person turns violent. If you see warning signs, do not hesitate to share your concerns with proper authorities. Response to an active shooter requires individual decision making. The emergency notification from the campus will provide the last known location of the threat, but the shooter might have moved. In most cases, the best action is to barricade. You should evacuate (RUN) only if you are reasonably sure you know where the shooter is, and you have a clear path to an exit.


Watch the ALERRT Avoid, Deny, Defend video to learn how to respond to an active shooter.

Active Shooter Response Actions


  • Have an escape plan in mind.
  • If you are outside a building near the threat, go to the nearest cover immediately.
  • If you are inside the building and you are confident you know the shooter's location and have a clear path to an exit, evacuate immediately, and take others with you if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the building.
  • Keep your hands empty and visible, and follow all instructions from police.
  • Tell police anything you know about the shooter (e.g., location, weapons, etc.).


  • If you are inside a building and the shooter(s) location is unknown, the safest option is normally to barricade:
    • If you are unsure that you can safely exit the building, secure the area by following these tips:
      • Lock and barricade doors with heavy furniture
      • Stay away from doors or windows
      • Turn off lights
      • Block windows
      • Keep yourself out of sight
      • Take cover/protection from bullets by using concrete walls or heavy furniture
      • Silence your cell phone
  • Quietly report to 911:
    • Your specific location
    • Number of people at your location
    • Number of injured and types of injuries
    • Assailant(s) — location, number of suspects, race/gender, clothing description, physical features, types of weapons, backpack, shooter's identity (if known), separate explosions from gunfire, etc.
    • If you cannot speak, leave the line open, and allow the dispatcher to listen


  • Attempt to stop the attacker by:
    • Working as a group if possible
    • Improvising weapons
    • Committing to your actions
    • Acting with physical aggression

Be Prepared for the Police Response

  • Follow all instructions given by police officers
  • Understand that the first actions by police will be to address the threat
  • Make sure empty hands are in plain view
  • Tell police any information you know about the shooter