How to Respond to an Active Shooter

Public Safety officers efforts are ongoing to plan for, respond to, and mitigate life-threatening emergencies.

Though educational institutions are some of the safest places in America, recent events have shown that there is no location in the country that is immune to crime and violence. College administrators, in concert with public safety departments, plan for campus-based emergencies and take steps to ensure your safety and security.

Safety Suggestions from the Department of Homeland Security
  • Be aware of your environment as you enter or move about a building.
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any new facility you visit.
  • Leave a building if you sense danger or if something seems frightening to you.
RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.® Surviving an Active Shooter Event - English 07.23.2012
Video by Ready Houston
Surviving an active shooter event. English version. Video Copyright © 2012 City of Houston.


If you can escape from a dangerous situation, do so without delay. Evacuate even if others refuse to follow, and do so as quickly and safely as possible. Leave personal property behind, and if you can, warn others to leave the area as you escape. Do not attempt to evacuate wounded people. Once you see police officers, follow their commands without hesitation.
  • Keep your hands visible, and place them in the air if ordered to do so.
  • Do not directly approach an officer or grab on to him or her.
  • Do not stop to ask for directions, or to provide voluntary information. (You will receive guidance as you get farther away from the site and be interviewed in short order for critical information.)


If you cannot escape, stay in your location, out of view, and secure the door. Be sure your location is out of the shooter’s view. If you can conceal yourself in a location that also protects you (such as a room with no windows and with a solid wood door), you will increase your security.


If you cannot escape and your life is in imminent danger, attack the active shooter and attempt to incapacitate him. Commit to taking aggressive action, such as by improvising a weapon or physically attacking the shooter.