Active Shooter Response

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.

In most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims except to inflict as much serious bodily injury/death as possible.

  • Run
    • Look for escape routes
    • Leave your belongings
    • Keep your hands visible
  • Hide
    • Get out of sight
    • Put barriers between you and the threat
  • Fight (Last resort)
    • Throw items at the threat
    • Physically attack the threat
    • Commit to overpowering the threat

2. Seek Help

  • Call 9-1-1.
    • Provide the location, building, floor level, room number.
    • Describe what is happening (how many people, what kind of weapon, how many weapons, how many victims).
    • Provide a description of the suspect.
    • Provide your name and number.
    • Follow the directions of the dispatcher.
  • Silence your phone.
  • If you cannot speak, turn the sound off and leave the phone line open so the police can hear what is going on.

3. What to Expect from Responding Police Officers

  • Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to stop the shooting as quickly as possible and may be from different police agencies and dressed in different uniforms.
  • They may be in civilian clothes and will likely wear bulletproof vests.
  • The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims.
  • Rescue teams will follow after the officers to attend the injured and remove everyone safely from the area.

4. What to do When Officers Arrive

  • Remain calm.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Police officers will want to proceed to the area where the shots were last heard so if you know where the shooter is, or know the shooters description, tell the officers.
  • Follow officer instructions.
  • Remain at the designated assembly point until authorities release you.

5. What Else Can You Do?

Prepare a plan of action for an active shooter in advance using information from UCDPD’s Your Response to an Active Shooter Brochure (PDF). Determine possible escape routes and know where the nearest building exits are.

Depending on your location consider the following:

In the classroom, room or office

  • Hide
    • Turn off the lights and all electronics.
    • Secure the door by locking or barricade using heavy furniture or door wedge.
    • If the door has a window, cover it.
    • If the windows don’t open or you cannot break them stay low and out of sight.
    • Keep the area secure. Be aware the assailant may attempt to get in or use another person to get in.
  • Run
    • Look for other possible exits such as windows and, if feasible, have someone be a lookout while others exit as calmly and as quietly as possible.
    • If you are able to exit the building move away from the incident and find safe cover positions and wait for the police to arrive.

In hallways or corridors

  • Hide
    • Move to a room that is not already secured and secure it.
    • See in the classroom, room or office response actions.
  • Run
    • Exit the building only if you are close to an exit. You do not want to encounter the threat in the hall.
    • If you are able to exit the building move away from the incident and find safe cover positions and wait for the police to arrive.

In large rooms/auditoriums

  • Run
    • Leave all belongings.
    • If clear, move to and out the external exits.
    • Move toward any police unit keeping your hands on your head.  

Open spaces

  • Hide
    • Look for hard cover locations, such as brick walls, retaining walls, parked vehicles, and any other object that may stop bullets.

Trapped with the threat

If they are shooting, commit to a choice.

  • Run for an exit. Consider a zigzag run to make yourself a more difficult target.
  • Hide. Play dead or stay still and hope they don’t shoot you.
  • Fight. Attack the shooter.

If they are not shooting

  • Do what they say and don’t move suddenly.