How to Respond to an Active Shooter
While the likelihood of a shooter on campus is remote, it is best to be prepared for any situation. Active shooter situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly and are over in 10 to 15 minutes. Before law enforcement arrives on scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Active Shooter “OUT” Strategy
An active shooter is a person who is using a firearm or other weapon with the intent to injure or kill others. Law enforcement 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 single 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 of incidents.
Survival Strategies in the Event of an Active Shooter If you can remember one word, it should be OUT!
GET OUT – RUN
Your best option always is to run, get out and get away. Put as much distance between you and the shooter.
CALL OUT – Call 911
If possible, take care of your safety first by getting to a safe place. Run, hide and barricade or lock the door first, then dial 911. If it is safe, stay on the phone and give the dispatcher the best information you can.
If you are not able to get out, find a place to hide. If there is no way to get out or hide, playing dead could save your life. If your hiding when the police arrive, realize that they will not know if you’re a victim or shooter. FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS.
If you can’t get out, lock or barricade the door to the room you are in. Make sure the barricade stays in place, holding if from a safe position, if necessary.
Take Out – Fight or Flight!
If you are unable to flee the area and are faced with a life or death situation, fight back and “take out” the shooter. This is a last resort, but could mean the difference between life and death.
When exiting the building in an active shooter incident:
- Have a route pre-planned.
- Do not carry items such as backpacks or jackets.
- Move quickly and keep your hands visible, with palms raised upward.
- Do not attempt to treat or remove injured persons, but note their locations so that you may provide the information to emergency personnel.
- Proceed to a safe location away from the scene, stay in the general area in case law enforcement personnel need to speak with you.
- 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 or special tactical gear, but they will clearly be 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 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.
- Another group of officers and/or tactical medics will follow to provide medical assistance and help with evacuation.
- Remain calm and immediately comply with all commands from law enforcement officers.
- GET OUT
- CALL OUT
- HIDE OUT
- KEEP OUT
- TAKE OUT
(The “OUT’ strategy is a courtesy of the Center for Personal Protection and Safety)