How to Respond When an Active Shooter or Threat Materializes

An active shooter is considered an individual actively engaged in the killing of or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area. The use of firearms is typical in this act, however other items have been utilized to commit the crime. Active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly.


1. Run

  • Have an escape route and a plan in mind
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Keep your hands visible

2. Hide

  • Hide in an area out of the assailants view
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone or any other noise making device

3. Fight

  • Commit to your act
  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the shooter

Call 911 when it is safe to do so

1. Information to provide to 911 or Law Enforcement:

  • Location of active shooter
  • Number of shooters
  • Physical description of shooters
  • Number and type of weapons used
  • Number of potential victims at the location

2. When Law Enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands
  • Raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding onto them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating

For more information, please visit the Homeland Security active shooter preparedness website.