How to respond when an active shooter is in vicinity


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Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

1. Evacuate: 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 911 when you are safe;

2. Hide out: 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 911, 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;

3. Take action against the active shooter: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her;
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons;
  • Yelling;
  • Committing to your actions;

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