Active Shooter Response

Educational Video for Students & Staff

Grand Valley State University Run Hide Fight video

Educational Video for Faculty

This video goes through possible steps GVSU Faculty can take in the event of an active assailant on campus or in the vicinity.

GVSU Campus Safety Briefing - Thursday, February 23, 2023

GVSU Campus Safety Briefing - Thursday, February 23, 2023

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.

When an active shooter is in your vicinity
  • Have an escape route plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • DO NOT pull a fire alarm.  This can put others in harm’s way.
  • Run away from the threat as fast as you can.
  • Do not run in a straight line.
  • Put objects or buildings between you and the hostile intruder.


  • Hide in an area out of the suspect's view.
  • Lock all doors and place objects to barricade entry into your hiding place.
  • Turn off lights, silence cellphones, close blinds.


  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Act with others to incapacitate the suspect.
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the suspect.

When an active shooter is reported elsewhere on campus

When the incident is occurring elsewhere on campus (i.e. you receive a GVSUAlert! and are not hearing or seeing any signs / clues that a hostile intruder or any violence is in your immediate area), generally, if you are safe where you are, stay where you are. Notify others in your class / office / suite by yelling, “LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN.” Suspend all operations and prepare to CLOSE / LOCK / BARRICADE

Close / Lock

CLOSE / LOCK the entry doors to the room you are in:

  • Offices / Suites – gather with others in the SAFEST ROOM of your suite
  • Classroom – All classroom doors have locks
  • GVPD’s LOCKDOWN system will lock exterior building doors (do not leave your area).

Designate a DOOR SHEPHERD, someone who staffs the door and helps gather others inside. This person is the final authority as to when the door is closed, locked, and barricaded. Some people may choose to run away…let them go. Once the DOOR SHEPHERD declares the door barricaded, it will not be opened for anyone, until an ALL CLEAR GVSUAlert! is received.

  • Move anything and everything in the room against the door and any sidelights (chairs, tables, copiers, file cabinets)
  • Turn off lights and close any blinds.
  • Stay calm and quiet. Silence cell phones, computers, laptops, and other electronic devices.
  • Remain out of sight from the doorway / hallway / windows
  • Do not huddle together, but hide individually behind large/thick/heavier objects (file cabinets, tables)
  • Do not open the door for anyone.
  • Do not answer or call out when someone knocks on the door – REMAIN SILENT.
Stay Put Until All Clear
  • GVPD will send an ALL CLEAR through the GVSUAlert! system so you know when it is safe to end lockdown.
  • DO NOT CALL 911 for scary noises, ONLY if you see the shooter or have someone injured. Texting 911 works.
  • Watch the GVSU EMERGENCY PAGE for updates.
  • Use texts to communicate with others – keep phone lines and cell towers available for those who are in harm’s way.
  • Stay off social media – DO NOT REPLY OR REPEAT UNCONFIRMED INFORMATION. Allow only the official sources of information to inform others with the most accurate and up to date information.
  • Prepare a plan with others to defend yourself if discovered in your hiding space. Find and prepare improvised weapons in the room.

In both situations...

Call 911 only after you are safe!

When law enforcement arrives


  • Until the shooter is neutralized, Law Enforcement may run right past you.
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or directions when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
  • Raise your hands high and spread fingers, keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid quick movements, pointing, and/or screaming at First Responders.


  • Officers will not know who the hostile intruder is when arriving on scene.
  • They must IMMEDIATELY control the room by COMMANDING ORDER.
  • You may be placed against a wall or on the ground with your hands on your head.
  • Do not carry anything in your hands – they should be empty!
  • Remain calm and follow officers' instructions.


  • Location of the threat.
  • Number of shooters.
  • Physical description of shooter(s).
  • Number and type of weapons they have.
  • Number of potential victims at the location.


Magnifying Glass
  • 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


Page last modified August 16, 2023