Active Shooter/Active Threat

Citizens Public Safety Preparedness & Risk Reduction Training

How to respond when an active shooter/active threat is in your vicinity:

IF YOU RUN – 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 others from entering the area.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.

IF YOU HIDE – If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter/active threat 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 (if possible).

To prevent an active shooter/active threat from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door.
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture.

IF YOU FIGHT – As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter/active threat by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against the attacker.
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons such as chairs, books, paperweights, fire extinguishers or other heavy items.
  • Using numbers to overwhelm the attacker.  There is strength in working together.
  • Yelling to startle the attacker and draw attention to the situation.
  • Committing to your actions and fighting like your life depends on it.

Active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident. The links below will provide you with information regarding active shooter preparedness and planning.

For those assembling an active shooter plan for your organization, click here to access our Active Shooter Plan template

Active Shooter Printable Resources

Active Shooter Online Courses - FEMA's Active Shooter, What to Do Course

  • Describes the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials.
  • Recognizes potential workplace violence indicators.
  • Describes actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
  • Describes how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.

DHS’s Active Shooter Awareness 90-Minute Webinar

  • Helps the private and public sector understand the importance of developing an emergency response plan and the need to train employees on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter. The presentation describes the three types of active shooters--workplace/school, criminal, and ideological--and how their planning cycles and behaviors differ.