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 shooter down. When teh shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chane of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her. 
  • Call 911 when safe to do so! 

Surviving an Active Shooter 

This video, recently produced by the Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, dramatizes an active shooter incident in the workplace. 

Its purpose is to educate the public

on how to respond during such an incident. 

Warning: The initial sequence in this video may be disturbing.

When Law Enforcement Arrives

  •  Remain calm, and follow officers' directions
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers, such as attempting to hold on to them for safety
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or directions when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which the officer(s) are entering the premises
  • Once you have reached a safe location/assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement
  • Do not leave until instructed by law enforcement
  • All witnesses will need to be identified and questioned
  • First responders may call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing teh wounded from the premises 

Law enforcement's purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible, and will proceed directly to the area in which the shots were last heard. The first officers to arrive on the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additonal officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. 

  • They may be wearing patrol uniforms, bulletproof vests or other tactical equipment
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns and handguns 
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to assist them in controlling the situation.
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety.

An active shooter/hostile intruder is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area by any means including but not limited to firearms (although firearms appear to be the most frequently used), bladed weapons, vehicles, or any tool that in the circumstance in which it is used constitutes deadly physical force. In most cases, there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Most active shooter situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly, and are over within minutes. Because these situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.  Based on recent events and outcomes, authorities are now advising persons caught in an active shooter situation to "Run, Hide, Fight". 

Active Shooter / Workplace Violence

When An Active Shooter Is In Your Area:   Run - Hide - Fight

RUN / Evacuate:

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 evacuate, if possible
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers (See below) 
  • Call 911 when safe to do so, providing the following details:
    • Location of active shooter - street address, suite or area of building
    • 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

HIDE / Shelter-In-Place

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you. Ideally, your hiding place should be:

  • Out of the view of the shooter
  • Provides protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Does not trap you or restrict your options of movement
  • Prevents an active shooter from entering your hiding place: 
    • Lock the door
    • Blockade the door with heavy furniture.
  • If the active shooter is nearby
    • Silence your cell phone and/or pager. 
    • Turn off any source of noise (i.e. radio, television)
    • Hide behind large items (i.e. cabinets, desks)
    • Remain quiet

FIGHT / Take Action: 

As a last resort, and only when you 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.
  • Yelling.
  • Committing to your actions. 

How to Respond When An Active Shooter Is In Your Area: Run - Hide - Fight

When Law Enforcement Arrives

Good Practices for Coping With An Active Shooter Situation

Recognizing Potential Workplace Violence


Recognizing Potential Workplace Violence 

An active shooter may be a current or former employee. Alert your Human Resources department if you believe an employee exhibits potentially violent behavior. Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints
  • Noticeable decrease in in attention to personal hygiene and appearance
  • Increased severe mood swings, and noticeable unstable or emotional responses
  • Explosive bursts of anger or rage without provocation 
  • Behavior which is suspect of paranoia ("everyone is against me")
  • Suicidal: comments about "putting things in order"
  • Depression / Withdrawal
  • Increasingly talks of problems at home
  • Escalation of domestic problems into the workplace; talk of severe financial problems
  • Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons or violent crimes
  • Empathy with individuals committing violence
  • Talk of previous incidents of violence