Active Shooter

If an active shooter or other violent event should occur, there are three basic tactics one can utilize:

  • RUN - evacuate the area.
  • HIDE - lockdown in a secure place.
  • FIGHT - confront the attacker.

The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management offer an in-person emergency preparedness training course that we are happy to bring to groups on campus. This training focuses on hazards faced by the University, how the University will notify you in case of an emergency, and actions to take if confronted with an emergency. Active shooter scenarios are one of the topics covered. To request this training, reach out to Derek Ziegler, Assistant Director for Emergency Preparedness.


What to Do:

If an active shooter is in or near your building and you can safely exit the building:


  • Have an escape route and a plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Help others escape, if possible.
  • Do not attempt to move the injured.
  • Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Keep your hands visible.

Call the Department of Public Safety at 911 or activate a blue light phone tower when you are safe.

If an active shooter is in or near your building and you cannot safely exit the building:


  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.
  • Lock door or block entry to your hiding place.
  • Silence your cell phone (including vibrate mode) and remain quiet.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:


  • Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with as much physical aggression as possible.
  • Improvise weapons or throw items at the active shooter.

Information to Provide to Dispatchers:

If you can safely do so without alerting the active shooter(s), call the Department of Public Safety at 911 or activate a blue light phone tower. Be prepared to provide information such as location, number of shooters, types of weapons, and whether there are potential victims.

Arrival of Law Enforcement:

  • When law enforcement arrives at the scene:
    • Remain calm and follow instructions.
    • Drop items in your hands.
    • Keep open hands visible at all times.
    • Avoid quick movements toward officers, such as holding on to them for safety.
    • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling.
    • Do not ask questions when evacuating.
  • You will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control.

Please orient yourself with some possible conditions surrounding an active shooter event by watching this informational video published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Another video option with more focus on a campus environment is this video prepared by NYU. You can also download this FBI Active Shooter Event Quick Reference Guide.


Weapon on Campus

Seeing someone carrying a weapon (or what appears to be a weapon) on campus is not the same as an active shooter. For more information on what to do if you see someone carrying a weapon, see Weapons on Campus.