In general, how you respond to these situations will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself in this situation, remain calm and CALL 911 as soon as possible. It is critical that people remain calm and think clearly. No one can predict what actions are most appropriate for every situation that might occur. This procedure is merely a framework; you will need to adjust accordingly, depending on the exact circumstances you are facing. The object is to have the intruder think there is no one in your area and to make it as difficult as possible to gain access.
Armed Intruder in or near your building
- Try to warn others to take immediate shelter.
- Go to a room that can be locked or barricaded.
- Lock and barricade doors or windows, turn off lights, close the blinds.
- Have ONE person CALL 911 and provide known information
- If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person’s(s) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen direction of travel, and identity – if known.
- If you have observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location device was seen and a description.
- If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.
- Switch cell phones to vibrate, turn off other devices that emit sound.
- Keep yourself out of sight. Take adequate cover/protection behind objects that will stop a bullet: i.e., concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets.
- If the fire alarm sounds, ignore it unless you can physically detect the signs of fire. An intruder may pull an alarm to flush people out into the open.
- Depending on circumstances, you may want to consider exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.
- Wait until a uniformed police officer or a University official known to you, provides an “all clear”. This may take some time.
- Unfamiliar voices may be an Armed Intruder trying to lure you from safety. Do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer or University official. An SOU Alert will be sent to advise the situation is “all clear”.
Armed Intruder in the room you are in:
- Try to hide or escape.
- If unable to escape, assume prone position (play dead) or
- Fight to overpower assailant by throwing items, attack with furniture, or swarm as a group.
- If the Armed Intruder(s) leaves the area, barricade the room and call 911
Armed Intruder in an outside area:
- Move away from the Armed Intruder or the sounds of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s).
- Look for appropriate locations for cover / protection; i.e., brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop bullet penetration.
- If you think you can make it out of the area, do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Attempt to keep objects (trees, vehicles, trash cans, etc.) between you and the hostile person. When away from immediate area of danger, summon help and warn others.
- CALL 911 and provide the information listed in the first guideline.
What to do if taken hostage
- Be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
- The first 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Be alert and follow instructions.
- Don’t speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary.
- Avoid arguments or appearing hostile. Treat the captor with respect. If you can, establish rapport with the captor. It is probable that the captor(s) do not want to hurt anyone. If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, say so.
- Try to rest. Avoid speculating. Expect the unexpected.
- Be observant, you may be released or escape. You can help others with your observations.
- Be prepared to speak with law enforcement personnel on the phone.
What to expect from responding police officers
Police officers responding to an Armed Intruder are trained to proceed to immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams. They may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns. The first officers to arrive will NOT stop to aid injured people. The first responding officers will be focusing on stopping the Armed Intruder and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene. Police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.