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Active Shooter

“Active shooter/active threat situations” are defined as those where an individual is “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” An active threat is any incident which creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to the campus community.



If it is safe to do so, the first course of action that should be taken is to run out of the building and move far away until you are in a safe location. Students and staff should be trained to:

  • Leave personal belongings behind;
  • Visualize possible escape routes, including physically accessible routes for students and staff with disabilities and others with access and functional needs;
  • Avoid escalators and elevators;
  • Take others with them whenever possible if doing so does not significantly increase risk to life;
  • Call 911 when safe to do so; and
  • Let a responsible adult know where they are.


If running is not a safe option, hide in as safe a place as possible. Students and staff should be trained to hide in a location where the walls might be thicker and have fewer windows. In addition:

  • Lock the doors;
  • Barricade the doors with heavy furniture;
  • Close and lock windows, and close blinds or cover windows;
  • Turn off lights;
  • Silence all electronic devices;
  • Remain silent;
  • Use strategies to silently communicate with first responders if possible (e.g., in rooms with exterior windows, silently signal emergency responders to indicate the status of the room’s occupants);
  • Hide along the wall closest to the exit but out of view (allowing for an ambush of the shooter and for possible escape if the shooter enters the room); and
  • Remain in place until given an all clear by identifiable law enforcement.


If neither running nor hiding is a safe option, as a last resort when confronted by the shooter, adults in immediate danger should consider trying to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by using aggressive force and items in their environment, such as fire extinguishers and chairs. In a study of 41 active shooter events that ended before law enforcement arrived, the potential victims stopped the attacker themselves in 16 instances. In 13 of those cases, they physically subdued the attacker.

While talking to staff about confronting a shooter may be daunting and upsetting for some staff, they should know that they may be able to successfully take action to save lives. To be clear, confronting an active shooter should never be a requirement of any campus employee’s job; how each individual chooses to respond if directly confronted by an active shooter is up to him or her.

Interacting with First Responders

Staff must understand and expect that law enforcement’s first priority is to locate and stop the person(s) believed to be the shooter(s); all other actions are secondary.

Students and staff must cooperate and not interfere with first responders. When law enforcement arrives, students and staff must display empty hands with open palms. Law enforcement may instruct everyone to place their hands on their heads, or they may search individuals.

After an Active Shooter Incident

Once the scene is secured, first responders will work with campus officials and victims on a variety of matters. This will include transporting the injured, interviewing witnesses, and initiating the investigation.

Trained personnel will provide assistance to victims and their families.

UIU will ensure that families and loved ones receive accurate and timely information in a compassionate way. Counselors will be available to assist family members.