You are here

Active Shooter

Active shootings are rare, but it is important to be informed and prepared. 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.

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. You can also download this FBI Active Shooter Event Quick Reference Guide.

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 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.
  • Commit to your actions…your life depends on it.

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. 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.
  • The first officers to arrive on scene will not stop to help the injured; rescue teams will follow initial officers and will treat and remove the injured.
  • You will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.

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.

For more results, please use the Princeton University search page.