Active Shooter

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 situation arises remember the acronym A.D.D. to assist in planning your response strategy:

A - Avoid the confrontation
D - Deny access to your location
D - Defend yourself


AVOID the Confrontation, if an active shooter event occurs outside or inside your building:

  • Call 911 as soon as possible.
  • AVOID any area you see signs an active shooter event is taking place.
  • If it is safe to do so, employees, faculty, and students should exit the building immediately to AVOID the shooter.
  • How exit a building safely:
    • Have a route planned before attempting to leave.
    • Do not attempt to carry anything with you while fleeing.
    • Move quickly and keep your hands and palms visible and upraised, as you exit the building.
    • 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.
    • Remain at the designated assembly area until you are released.
    • ALWAYS comply with commands from law enforcement officers.

DENY access to your location if unable to AVOID the confrontation.

  • If a shooter is inside your building proceed to a room that can be locked. On your way to the room tell as many people as possible to do the same.
  • Lock all doors and windows and turn off the lights in the building or classroom.
  • Place cell phone on vibrate if possible. Phones that omit sound will attract attention to your location.
  • Stack desks, chairs, or heavy objects against doors or windows to DENY access. Stay away from windows and out of sight of the shooter if possible.
  • Have one person call 911 and be prepared to provide the following:
    • Your location
    • Your name
    • The number of people in the room with you.
    • Any and all information about the shooters location and actions.

DEFEND yourself if an active shooter enters your room.

  • DEFEND yourself as a LAST resort. If you are forced to protect yourself or the lives of others the following will assist in planning your survival strategy:
    • Swarm the shooter using a pack mentality.
    • Use improvised weapons e.g. chairs, fire extinguishers, or other available objects.
    • Grab any weapons the shooter has and point it away from people to protect them.


What to expect from responding officers:

Police officers are responding to an active shooter may be wearing regular uniforms, plainclothes, or special tactical gear. They will be clearly defined as law enforcement officers. The following may happen during an active shooter event.

  • 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.
  • 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.