RESPONDING TO AN ACTIVE SHOOTER

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What is an active shooter?
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable, often occur without warning and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm.

Because active shooter situations are often over quickly, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

Hostage or barricaded subject situations often take place over a longer period of time and usually there is no ongoing injury or loss of life. These situations are often managed through the deployment of specialized units, as time allows. Both hostage and barricaded subject situations can rapidly shift, however, to become active shooter situations and vice versa.

Campus Security and Emergency Management may be the first responder to an active shooter situation on the Mānoa campus and will immediately request, and facilitate support from the Honolulu Police Department. Campus Security will also initiate the sending of a UH Alert.


How to respond when an active shooter is in your vicinity
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 individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police or security officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe
HIDE
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter 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
To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture
If the active shooter is nearby:
  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet
If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:
  • Remain calm
  • Call 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter's location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen
FIGHT
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:
  • Acting as agressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

How to respond when law enforcement arrives

Law enforcement's purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard:
  • Officers usually arrive in teams
  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety
How to react when law enforcement arrives:
  • Remain calm, and follow the officers' instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
  • Do no stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which the officers are entering the premises
Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:
  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number or shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of shooter(s)
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
  • Number of potential victims at the location

Additional Resources
RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event
This video was created by the City of Houston's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security using funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Please be aware that this video is designed to educate the public on surviving an active shooter event. It contains graphic dramatizations of a violent shooter situation.

FEMA Training Course IS907, "Active Shooter: What You Can Do."
This FEMA training program is intended to describe potential actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials, recognize potential workplace violence indicators, describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents, and to describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
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