Active Violence Situations

  • Active violence situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the violence and mitigate harm to victims. Chances are you will never find yourself in an active shooter situation, but everyone must take the time to prepare.  You can take decisive action to improve your chances of survival.

    Before An Incident Occurs

    • Don’t assume it will never happen.
    • Be aware of your surroundings at all times along with any possible dangers.
    • Know where all of the exits in your area are located.
    • Determine whether the space you are in can be locked.
    • Have an escape plan, same as in a fire.

    When An Incident Occurs


    • Take decisive action if you hear gunshots—don't wait until others tell you to act.
    • Know your surroundings, have an escape route and plan in mind.
    • Run and call 911 from a cell or campus phone when it's safe to do so. 
    • Help others if you can, but keep moving. 
    • When calling 911, be sure to provide an exact location—don't assume a dispatcher knows where you are located.


    • If you can't run, hide as a second option. 
    • Lock and/or use items to barricade doors, shut off lights.
    • Put your cell phone on silent. 
    • Keep others calm around you. 


    • As a last resort, when running and hiding are not an option, be ready to defend yourself. 
    • Assume a survival mindset and know that often times active violence situations are over in a few minutes.
    • Find an object to use as a weapon—fire extinguisher, chair, book bag, letter opener, etc.
    • Develop a plan with others to take out a potential shooter, be decisive and commit to action. Keep others calm around you. 

    What should you tell the 911 operator when calling or texting?

    • Be specific about the location where the incident is occurring.
    • Provide a specific description of those involved, including clothing and weapons.
    • Be ready to give information about any victims that you are aware of.

    What should you expect when police officers arrive?

    • Remain calm and be prepared to show your hands to arriving police officers.
    • Do not slow down responding officers, follow their instructions and keep moving. Do advise them where the suspects may be in the building.
    • Don’t assume someone else is calling 911. If you have specific information and have made it out safely, call the police.