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Responding to an Active Shooter

Campus Security Main Number (630) 617-3000

An active shooter is a person who is actively threatening lives or is prepared to threaten lives in a populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These dynamic situations evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. Below are guidelines for faculty, staff and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation.

The main goals are to remain calm and use these guidelines to help you plan a strategy for survival.

If an active shooter is outside your building:

  • Proceed to a room that can be locked.
  • Close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.
  • If possible, get everyone down on the floor where no one is visible from outside the room.
  • Have one person in the room call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place and inform the dispatcher of your location.
  • Remain in place until the police, or a campus administrator known to you, gives the “all clear.”

If an active shooter is in the same building with you:

  • Lock the room you are in, if possible.
  • Turn off all the lights.
  • If possible, get everyone down on the floor where no one is visible from outside the room.
  • Have one person in the room call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform the dispatcher of your location.
  • Remain in place until the police, or a campus administrator known to you, gives the “all clear.”

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • If possible, get out of the room.
  • If escape is not possible, try to remain calm and seek cover.
  • If possible, dial 9-911 from a campus phone or 911 from a cell phone and alert police to the shooter’s location. If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place because 911 can often determine a location from the call.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity to escape or hide, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a last resort, after all other options have been exhausted.
  • If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooter situation:

  • Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing.
  • Move quickly, keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter.
  • Do not attempt to remove injured people. Instead, leave wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT: Before an emergency occurs, become familiar with the buildings you frequent. Make sure you have an escape route and plan ahead for how you could respond.

Sources: Ohio University Police Department, Indiana University Police Department, Miami University and Elmhurst College

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