Workplace or School Shootings and Other Public Acts of Mass Violence
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends all individuals take the time to learn more about what is often termed as an “active shooter.”
An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms 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 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
- If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
- If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
- Call 9-1-1 when it is safe to do so.
Tips for Evacuating or Hiding Out
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
- Leave your belongings behind
- Help others escape, if possible
- Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
- Keep your hands visible
- Follow the instructions of any police officers
- Do not attempt to move wounded people
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:
- Be out of the active shooter’s view
- Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. an office with a closed and locked door)
- Not trap you or restrict your options for movement.
To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
- Lock the door
- Blockade the door with heavy furniture
If the active shooter is nearby:
- Lock 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.
If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:
- Remain calm.
- Dial 9-1-1, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location.
- If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.