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Active Shooter Emergency Response Procedures

Protocol & Procedure

An active shooter is defined as one or more subjects who actively engage in killing or causing life-threatening injuries to multiple people in a confined and populated area. Active shooter situations are dynamic, evolve quickly, and often end before law enforcement arrives at the scene. How you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, try to remain as calm as possible and use these suggested actions to help you plan a strategy for survival.

Should you ever find yourself in the middle of an active shooter incident, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan doesn't have to be complicated. There are three things you could do that make a difference: Avoid. Deny. Defend.


  • Leave the building ASAP (if possible)
  • Know your exits
  • Consider secondary exits
  • Call 911 once safe to do so


  • Lock the door (if unable to leave)
  • Turn out the lights
  • Keep out of sight
  • Barricade the doorway (e.g. doorstops, furniture, ropes, etc.), especially for doors without interior locking mechanisms
  • Silence cell phones and remain quiet


  • If you believe your secured area is being breached by an assailant, position yourself alongside of the doorway for tactical surprise
  • Grab the weapon
  • Fight
    • use whatever improvised weapons (e.g. fire extinguisher, office equipment, etc.) available to you to fight for your life and to incapacitate the assailant
    • know that “playing dead” is not an effective deterrent to active shooters

Pay close attention to the McDaniel Alert emergency notification which will provide you with clear and concise instructions. Additional notifications will be sent as the incident develops.

It is also important to know that the first priority of responding police is not to assist the injured, but to stop the shooter as soon as possible. Responding officers will form teams and immediately proceed toward the sound of gunfire in order to engage the shooter.

When law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm, listen, and carefully follow all instructions
  • Keep your hands visible at all times
  • Avoid pointing or yelling
  • Know that help for the injured is on its way