Active Shooter



Active Shooter Situations


An "Active Shooter" is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active Shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of Law Enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because Active Shooter situations are often over within 5-15 minutes, before Law Enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.



There are three basic options: RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT. Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that others will follow the lead of employees, faculty, staff or management during an Active Shooter situation.

1. RUN - Evacuate: If an escape route is accessible, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to

a. Have an escape route and plan in mind

b. Evacuate regardless of other's decisions to stay or follow

c. Leave belongings behind

d. Assist others escaping, if possible

e. Prevent individuals from entering the area where the active shooter may be, WARN people

f. Keeps hands visible to Law Enforcement

g. Follow First Responders Instructions, Police, etc.

h. DO NOT attempt to move wounded individuals

i. Call 911 when safe to do so

2. HIDE OUT - If evacuation / escape not possible, find a place to hide where an active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

a. Be out of the shooter's line of sight or view

b. Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. closed and locked door of office or closet)

c. Not trap you or restrict options for movement

To help prevent an Active Shooter from entering your hiding place:

a. Lock all doors

b. Barricade the door if possible with available items (i.e. heavy furniture, etc.)

If the Active Shooter is within your vicinity

a. Lock the door

b. Silence all cell phones, pagers, radios, or other devices, etc.

c. Turn off sources of noise such as TVs, radios, etc.

d. Conceal yourself behind large objects such as book cases, desks, etc.

e. Remain silent, limit movement which creates noise


Take last resort measures for survival when facing Imminent Injury or death. Attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the Active Shooter by:

a. Acting aggressively towards the shooter / engaging in physical attack

b. Throwing items or using improvised weapons

c. Yelling

d. Staying committed to your actions. Do not let up until shooter is incapacitated or disrupted



Arriving Law Enforcement's first priority is to engage and stop the Active Shooter as soon as possible. Officers will form up and immediately proceed to engage the Active Shooter, moving towards the sound of gunfire.

a. Officers will group into teams of four (4) to engage if possible

b. Arriving officers may be from various agencies and have different uniforms, equipment, and other types of vehicles, some not marked

c. Officers may have various types of weapons, i.e. handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles

d. Officers may deploy tear gas or pepper spray to control the situation

e. Officers may shout commands and push people down on the ground for their safety


1. HOW TO REACT WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES Your attention to Law Enforcement officers is vital for survival

a. Remain calm, and follow officers' instructions

b. Put down any handheld items, i.e. bags, backpacks, jackets, etc.

c. Immediately raise hands / spread fingers

d. Keep hands visible at all times

e. Avoid making quick movements towards officers or grabbing onto them

f. Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling at officers

g. DO NOT stop and ask officers for directions or help when evacuating, just proceed in the direction where officers are entering


2. INFORMATION TO PROVIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT OR 911 CALL TAKER Accurate and relevant information to Law Enforcement is vital for Active Shooter mitigation and can be provided to on scene Police or 911 Call Takers.

a. Location of the Active Shooter

b. Number of Active Shooters

c. Physical Description of Active Shooter(s)

1. Clothing, Height, Weight, Hair Color, Type of Weapon, Distinguishing

2. Characteristics i.e. mask worn, wearing tactical equipment, etc.

d. Number of weapons and types / explosive type devices in area

e. Number of potential victims at the location


Arriving officers will not stop to help injured persons, their initial response is to stop the Active Shooter, so be cognizant of this. Expect Rescue Teams comprised of additional officers and other Emergency Medical Personnel to follow the initial response officers. The Rescue Teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may call upon able-bodied individuals to assist them in removing the wounded from the premises.

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by Law Enforcement until the situation is under control and secure and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. DO NOT leave until released by Law Enforcement Authorities.

Source: DHS, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Tactical Officers Association and Fairfax County, VA Police Department document: Active Shooter How to Respond. 10/8/2008