Q: How should I handle an Active Shooter situation?

A: An active shooter is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area — typically employing the use of firearms. In some cases active shooters use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices (IED) to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders.

There may be no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. Hostage or barricaded subject situations often take place over a longer period of time and usually there is no ongoing injury or loss of life. These situations are often managed through the deployment of specialized units, as time allows. Both hostage and barricaded subject situations can rapidly shift to Active Shooter situations and vice versa.

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.

Run (Get Out) If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.

Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others evacuate, if possible
  • Call 911 when you are safe
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people

Hide (Protect-in-Place)

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter's view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (ie. an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
  • To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (ie. radio, television)
  • Hide behind large items (ie cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet