Active shooter or threat situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.
Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the situation.
Below are tips from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
How to respond when an active shooter is in your vicinity
Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.
- If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
- Leave your belongings behind
- Help others escape, if possible
- Prevent others from entering the area where the active shooter may be
- Call 911 when you are safe
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.
- Lock and/or blockade the door
- Silence your cell phone and/or pager
- Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
- Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
- Remain quiet
- Turn off lights
Your hiding place should:
- Be out of the shooter’s view
- Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
- Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
- Act with physical aggression
- Improvise weapons
Commit to your actions
How to respond when law enforcement arrives
Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible.
- Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
- Keep your hands visible at all times
- Avoid pointing or yelling
- Know that help for the injured is on its way
*An active threat is an armed person who has used deadly physical force on other persons and continues to do so while having access to additional victims.