Active Shooter

Active Shooter

An “active shooter” situation is a situation when an intruder enters a building or campus grounds and threatens the personal safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and guests. These are the characteristics of such a situation:

  • Involves one or more suspect(s) who, as police respond to the scene, are actively killing or causing serious, life-threatening bodily injury to multiple victims.
  • The overriding objective of the suspect(s) appears to be that of mass murder, rather than other criminal conduct such as robbery or hostage-taking.
  • Such a threat is not immediately contained and there is immediate risk of death and injury.
  • Considered the greatest threat to a campus community.
  • Leaves little or no time for proper planning and requires law enforcement to take immediate action
  • Active shooter situations can and often develop into hostage situations upon the arrival of law enforcement.

On a national level, active shooter situations have increased and are becoming ever more serious threats to any facility that is open to the public, including colleges and universities. Events such as these are usually unpredictable and evolve rapidly, demanding response decisions that can be influenced by a number of different variables. Therefore, it is very important that faculty, staff and students immediately report any potentially threatening persons that they see anywhere on campus that appear to be armed. This is true even if the person is not currently engaged in an act of violence and would include anyone armed with a bladed instrument such as a large knife, sword, machete or firearm of any kind. Call 244-3424 for Campus Police.

How will AUM react to an active shooter situation on campus?

Make a decision, trusting your instincts, to take action to protect yourself to survive the situation. You generally will have three options:
Run: Can you safely escape?
Hide: Is there a good place to hide?
Fight: Will you take out the shooter?

  • If you can and you deem it safe, get out and get to a safe place.
  • You will have to rely partially on instinct.
  • Leave belongings behind, but take your cell phone if it is handy.
  • Find a hidden location.
  • Find protection behind furniture if possible.
  • Find a room that locks if you can.
  • If possible, close and lock the outside door to the room. Blockade the door with furniture or other heavy objects.
  • Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, silence cell phones, spread out away from other individuals, and move behind available cover.
  • Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.
  • Make a plan with others in the room about what you will do if the shooter enters. Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others.
  • Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.
  • If possible and safe to do so, report the location of the assailant.
  • Drop to the ground immediately, face down as flat as possible. If within 15-20 feet of a safe place or cover, duck and run to it.
  • Move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire. Remember that many objects of cover may conceal you from sight, but may not be bulletproof.
  • When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down and do not move. Do not peek or raise your head in an effort to see what may be happening.
  • Wait and listen for directions from Public Safety and/law enforcement personnel.
  • An individual must use his/her own discretion about when he or she must engage a shooter for survival.
  • Make a plan as to how you will survive the situation.
  • Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others if possible.
  • Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.
  • Warn others.
  • Help others escape.
  • Keep others away from the danger area.
  • Help the injured.
  • Help others stay calm.
  • Call 244-3178 or 9-1-1 to report the appropriate authorities. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident. Be persistent; phones may be jammed.
  • Calmly identify yourself and your exact location. Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions. The dispatcher is trained to obtain the necessary and required information for an appropriate emergency response.
  • If safe to do so, stop and take time to get a good description of the criminal. Note height, weight, sex, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and his/her name, if known.
  • If the suspect is entering a vehicle, note the license plate number, make and model, color, and outstanding characteristics. All of this takes only a few seconds and is of the utmost help to the responding officers.
  • When law enforcement reaches you, do not run at them or make sudden movements.
  • The priority of the first responders will be to identify the shooter. Law enforcement will need to ensure that you are not the shooter.
  • Do not scream, yell, point, or wave your arms.
  • Do not hold anything in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon (including cell phones).
  • Be quiet and compliant.
  • Show the officers your empty hands and follow their instructions.
  • Give the number of shooters.
  • Give the location and physical description of the shooter.
  • Give the number and types of weapons.
  • When it is safe to do so, you will be given instructions as to how to safely exit your location.

What is "Shelter in Place"?

Shelter-in-place refers to the need to remain where you are for your own safety. Employees and students generally cannot be forced to shelter-in-place; however, there are circumstances when university officials and emergency personnel will order that everyone must stay where they are for their own safety and well-being. You should consider how and where to shelter-in-place prior to having to take this measure.

A shelter-in-place order may be issued for several reasons, including:

  • Severe weather
  • Hazardous materials
  • Intruder on campus
  • Hostage situation
  • Any situation where it is best for you to stay where you are to avoid a threat

The reason for the shelter-in-place order may not be immediately communicated to everyone. If a shelter-in-place order is issued:

  • Stay alert for instructions and updates as they become available from the emergency personnel and university administrators.
  • If class is in session, do not allow any students to leave, if possible.
  • If you are in other buildings such as dorms, have everyone remain there.
  • Remain calm and attempt to keep other calm.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Remain in the shelter until told everything is all clear by emergency personnel. Do not leave until you are sure of the identity or source of the person making the announcement.
If you become aware of an intruder:
  • Secure doors if possible and get out of sight, away from doors and windows.
  • Turn the lights off and close any blinds or curtains.
  • If you are not able to lock the door for any reason, attempt to barricade the door with furniture without endangering or injuring yours.
More Active Shooter Safety Resources

Review the Active Shooter section of the AUM Crisis Operations Manual.

If you have questions or wish to request active shooter situation response training, please contact Campus Police at 244-3424.

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