Stephen F. Austin State University

Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management

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Active Shooter Event - Quick Reference Guidelines

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, an active shooter usually has no pattern or method to their selection of victims and their victims are usually selected at random. The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly and knowing what to do can save lives. Having a plan can help determine the responses you make in an active shooter situation.
When an Active Shooter is in your vicinity, you must be prepared both mentally and physically to manage the situation to save your life and possibly the lives of others around you. You have three options: Run, Hide, Fight poster

• Have an escape route and plan in mind
• Leave your belongings behind
• Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
• Help other escape, if possible
• Do not attempt to move the wounded
• Prevent others from entering an area where an active shooter may be
• Keep your hands visible
• Call 911 when you are safe

• Hide in an area out of the shooter's view
• Lock door or block entry to your hiding place
• Silence your cell phone (including vibrate mode) and remain quiet

• Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
• Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
• Act with as much physical aggression as you can muster
• Improvise weapons or throw items at the active shooter
• Commit to your actions….your life depends on it

The first officers to arrive on scene will not stop to help the injured. Expect rescue teams to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove the injured.

Once you have reached a safe location, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave the area until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

Information to provide to 911 operators:
• Location of the active shooter
• Number of shooters
• Physical description of shooters
• Number and type of weapons shooter has
• Number of potential victims at location

When law enforcement arrives:
• Remain calm and follow instructions
• Drop items in your hands (e.g. bags, jackets)
• Raise hands, spread fingers and keep hands visible at all times
• Avoid quick movements toward officers, such as holding on to them for safety
• Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
• Do not ask questions while evacuating


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Have questions? Feel free to email Dr. Jeremy K. Higgins at