Active Shooter Response Guide

Encountering an active shooter in your place of work or study is unlikely, but it never hurts to prepare for the unthinkable.

An active shooter is an individual, or multiple individuals, actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined space or highly populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and choose their victims at random with the objective of killing as many people as possible.

Active shooter situations can change quickly and unfold rapidly. In order to stop a shooter and minimize harm to a community, an immediate response by members of that community and deployment of law enforcement resources is critical.

Active Shooter Response Guide - Run Hide Fight


In the instance of an active shooter, every second counts. So, remember these three key steps: RUN, HIDE, and FIGHT.


If you determine that you can reach an escape path to a safer area, then get out

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Have an exit plan.
  3. Move away from the threat as quickly as possible.
  4. Create as much distance between you and the threat as possible.


If you can’t evacuate, find a secure place to hide out.

  1. Create distance between you and the threat.
  2. Find barriers to prevent or slow down the shooter from getting to you.
  3. Turn off the lights and silence your phones
  4. Remain out of sight by hiding behind large objects.
  5. Be quiet


As a last resort, if you can’t hide out and if you have absolutely no other option, confront the active shooter.

  1. Be aggressive, yell, and commit to your actions.
  2. Do not fight fairly - Throw items and use improvised weapons
  3. Survive by any means necessary

Also see this informative video on surviving an active shooter situation. 

What to Expect from Responding Police Officers

When officers arrive, be prepared to calmly, quickly, and accurately tell them what they need to know:

  1. location of the shooter
  2. number of the shooters, if there’s more than one
  3. description of the shooter
  4. number and kinds of weapons they have.

Follow the officers’ instructions. Officers will take command of the situation by shouting orders and/or physically directing individuals to a safe place or the ground.

The first responding officers’ main objective is to stop the active shooter and create a safe environment for medical help for the injured. Officers who arrive later will help identify victims that need medical care and conduct interviews and counseling.

Notice Concerning Behavior?

It is the university’s goal to prevent any unsafe situations before they happen, so we encourage you to report all suspicious behavior and concerns as soon as you notice them. If you experience any immediate threats to your safety or the safety of others, call 911. If you notice concerning behaviors in a friend, coworker, or classmate, call the university’s anonymous Behavior Concerns Advice Line at 512-232-5050. You can learn more online about the Behavior Concerns Advice Line.