Fleeing During an Active Shooter Situation
matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active
shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind.
Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing. Move quickly, keep your
hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you
may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave
wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location
as soon as possible. Do not try to drive off campus until you are
advised it is safe to do so by police.
What to Report When Calling 911
- Your specific location, building name, and office/room number.
- Number of people at your specific location.
- Injuries, including the number injured and types of injuries.
location(s), shooter identity (if known), number of suspects,
race/gender, clothing description, physical features, type of weapon
(long gun or handgun), backpack, explosions separate from gunfire, and
any other details you know.
When Law Enforcement Arrives
When law enforcement arrives, follow their instructions exactly. Keep in mind they may not know who the shooter is.
- Remain calm and follow the officers' instructions.
- Put down any items in your hands (e.g., bags, jacket, etc.).
- Raise your hands and spread your fingers.
- Avoid making quick movements toward officers, such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
- Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling.
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or directions while evacuating.
Additional Guidance for Faculty, Staff, and Students
from a witness, seeing the shooter yourself, or hearing the sound of
gunshots may be the only alert you receive. The sound of gunshots,
unlike special effects in movies and television, may sound muffled and
make a "pop, pop, pop" noise. It is reasonable to assume that a series
of such noises are gunshots and you should begin to take necessary
Remember, the actions of faculty and staff will influence others. Students, visitors, and guests will follow your lead.
- If an active shooter is outside your building:
- Proceed to a room that can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.
- If possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.
- One person in the room should call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him/her of your location.
- Remain in place until the police give the "all clear."
voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe
space. Do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with
certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.
- If an active shooter is in the same building you are:
- Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described in the bullets above.
your room can't be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that
can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the
- If you decide to move from your current location, be sure to follow the instructions outlined above for fleeing.
- If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:
- Try to remain calm.
911, if possible, and alert police to the shooter's location; if you
can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what's
- If there is no opportunity for escape or hiding,
it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; attempting to
overpower the shooter with force should be considered a very last
resort, after all other options have been exhausted.
- If the
shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not
touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.
Additional Things to Expect When Help Arrives
officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed
immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is
to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
- The first
responding officers will normally be in teams. They may be dressed in
regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof
vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers may be
armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns and might also be using pepper
spray or tear gas to control the situation. Regardless of how they
appear, remain calm, do as the officers tell you and do not be afraid of
- The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured
people. Rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical
personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and
remove injured persons.
- Keep in mind that even once you have
escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene.
Police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully
under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.
Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities
Preparing for These Events
Consider the following, wherever you may be:
- Know your surroundings.
- Take note of the nearest exit.
- Can the door be locked?
- What would work as a barricade?
- Do the windows open?
- Where would you run?