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Active Shooter Emergency Procedures


ACTIVE SHOOTER

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. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

A training video is available for WKU Faculty, staff and students on the WKU Police Department Website. An Active Shooter Response Guide is available WKU PD Active Shooter Guide. Request Violence Prevention and Response training for your group or organization here.

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation:

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.

  • CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that students and visitors are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.


  • 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 others from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible (for Law Enforcement)
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

  • Hide (Barricade). 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)
  • Do not trap yourself 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
  • Dial 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 aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • 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 of four (4)
  • 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 officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • 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 not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of 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

Notes: The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.


Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

Online FEMA Courses:

IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do

IS-906 Workplace Security Awareness

  • These are free online courses you can take and receive a FEMA Certificate on completion. Each course will take you from 30 minutes to an hour.
  • You must first apply for a FEMA online study course:
    https://training.fema.gov/apply/


    Translated Active Shooter Resources

    The Department of Homeland Security has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, schools, and communities in preparing for and responding to an active shooter incident. These resources include a detailed booklet, a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card translated into nine different languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Urdu. https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-resources-translated


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 9/27/19