Clearly, response to an active shooter is one of the most dynamic situations that anyone will ever face. Prior to the arrival of police personnel, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter, keeping in mind there could be more than one shooter involved in the same situation. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, try to remain as calm as possible and use these suggested actions to help you plan a strategy for survival. Keep in mind, the entire area is still a crime scene.
For Texas A&M students and employees, the University Police Department website offers instructional videos on how to respond when shots are fired. They are also available through MediaMatrix (Requires Texas A&M NetID to view): Shots Fired on Campus: Student Edition Video and Shots Fired: When Lightning Strikes (workplace violence video). Faculty and staff can also view the videos by logging into TrainTraq and searching for the online courses "Shots Fired" and "Shots Fired On Campus."
Active Shooter Outside Building
- Go to a room that can be locked or barricaded by using available material.
- Close the window blinds, turn off the lights and get everyone down of the floor so that no one is visible from outside the room.
- Spread out and seek concealment behind walls, desks, file cabinets, etc.
- Have someone call 9-1-1 using a cellular telephone or call 9-911 from any campus telephone. Be aware that the 911 system will most likely be overwhelmed.
- When you reach the dispatcher, describe the situation and give your name and location; remain in place until police give the 'All Clear.'
- Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.
Active Shooter Inside Building
- If possible, secure the room you are in by either locking or barricading the door using available material and follow the same procedures described above.
- If you cannot secure the room, determine if there is a nearby location that you are able to reach safely and then secure or if you can safely exit the building.
Active Shooter Inside Room
- If the active shooter enters your office or classroom, there are no set procedures. The decision to flee or seek shelter inside the room can only be made by you and is dependent upon the circumstances.
- Try to remain calm, it will aid you in decision making.
- Call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) if possible, and alert police to the shooter's location.
- If you can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what is taking place. Usually the location of a caller can be determined without speaking.
- If there is absolutely no opportunity of escape or concealment and the shooter is not actively firing on victims it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter.
- If the shooter has fired on victims you are faced with a life or death situation; only you can consider your next course of action.
- After all other options have been exhausted, you may be faced with the decision to overpower the shooter with force by whatever means necessary.
Active Shooter Leaves Room
- If the shooter leaves the area and the environment appears safe, proceed immediately to a safer place.
- Do not touch anything that was in the area of the shooter because of the possibility of explosives being left and the destruction of crucial evidence.
What You Should Do
- Make sure you have an escape route in mind.
- Do not attempt to carry anything in your hands while fleeing; move quickly
- Keep your hands visible, and follow instructions given by any police officers you may encounter.
- If you know where the shooter is located, tell the officers.
- Remain at the designated assembly point until you have been released.
- Do not drive off campus until told it is safe to do so by police.
- Do not try to move any injured people; leave them where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.
What You Should Expect
- Responding police officers are trained to proceed immediately to the area where the shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
- The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims; rescue teams composed of additional officers will follow the first team into secured areas and remove injured persons.
- The first officers on the scene will likely be from the University Police Department. Depending on the situation, they may be joined by officers from different agencies and dressed in different uniforms. There may even be some officers in civilian clothes wearing an external bulletproof vest. Some officers may be dressed in Kevlar helmets and other tactical equipment. They may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns. Do as the officers tell you and do not be afraid of them.
- In reference to student behavior: Offices of the Dean of Student Life
- In reference to staff behavior: Human Resources Employee Assistance Program
- In reference to faculty behavior: Office of the Dean of Faculties
- Flashpoint: Recognizing and Preventing Violence in the Workplace
- Flashpoint on Campus: Recognizing and Preventing Violence on Campus
- DHS: Active Shooter Preparedness
- Shots Fired on Campus: Student Edition Video
- Shots Fired: When Lightning Strikes (workplace violence video)
- Run. Hide. Fight. Surviving an Active Shooter
- FEMA Training: IS-907: Active Shooter: What You Can Do