Information for this page was taken from "Active Shooter: How to Respond" a plan prepared by the Office of Homeland Security. This information provides guidance to individuals who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and discusses how to react when law enforcement responds.
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.
RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE
- Increased use of alcohol and/ or illegal drugs
- Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and /or vague physical complaints
- Depression/ Withdrawal
- Increased severe mood swings, and noticeable or emotional response
- Increasingly talks of problems at home or school. Dark written or verbal communications
- Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes
HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Leave your belongings behind
- Keep your hands visible
- Hide in an area out of the active shooters view
- Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door when possible
- As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
- Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter
- Act with physical aggression and throw- items at the active shooter
CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!
HOW TO RESPOND WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES ON THE SCENE
- Remain calm, and follow officers instructions
- Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
- Keep hands visible at all times
- Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
- Avoid pointing, screaming and/ or yelling
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premise.
- Location of the active shooter
- Number of shooters, if more than one
- Physical description of shooter(s)
- Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
- Number of potential victims at the location.
Additional Active Shooter References