Active Shooter Survival Tips

imageThere was an absolutely tragic Active Shooter incident at Umpqua Community College in Oregon today.  Reports at this time say that at least 10 have been murdered and 7 wounded in the on-campus attack.  The shooter is apparently dead.

I have a daughter in college and I do not know if she has ever received training for such an occurrence at her school.  I decided to send her an email containing some tips for surviving an active shooter event.  Most of the information below comes from the Department of Homeland Security.  It is meant as a guide and is not a guarantee of an positive outcome.

As police officers, we train for and respond to critical incidents in real life.  Despite our experience, we cannot always be there for the safety of our own sons and daughters, but we can make them aware of techniques to increase their own chances for survival until our Brothers and Sisters in Blue arrive on scene.




Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.

  1. Evacuate (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 officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

2.  Hide out (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
  • 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

3.   Take action against the active shooter (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
  • Acting as a group
  • Committing to your actions
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