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Active Shooter – Targeted Violence

Active shooters are very unpredictable and create chaos and panic at the location, thus making it difficult to establish one specific plan of action.

Be aware of your surroundings, environment, and options before an emergency occurs.  Ask yourself, “What if?” questions and develop a plan.  Develop a Survival Mindset.


When an Active Assailant is in your vicinity, you must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the situation; you have three options:

  • Run (evacuate): Can you safely escape?
  • Hide: Is there a good place to secure-in-place or barricade yourself into?
  • Fight: Will you take out the assailant?

RUN (Evacuate)

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Leave belongings behind, but take your cell phone and keys if they are handy.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Do not attempt to move the wounded
  • Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible (for arriving Law Enforcement officers)
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safe (see Calling For Help Checklist)

HIDE (Secure-in-place and Barricade)

  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
  • Lock the door or block entry (barricade) to your hiding place
  • Silence your cell phone (including vibrate mode) and remain quiet

FIGHT (Only as a last resort)

  •  Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with as much physical aggression as possible
  • Improvise weapons or throw items at the active assailant
  • Commit to your actions… your life depends on it

CALLING FOR HELP: Information to provide to 911 operators:

If safe to do so, call the appropriate authorities. DO NOT assume that someone else has reported the incident.

  • Call 9-1-1
    • Only dial University Security Dispatch (208-426-6911) if unable to get through to 9-1-1
  • Location of the active assailant
  • Number of assailants
  • Physical description of assailants
  • Number and types of weapons the assailant has
  • Number of potential victims at the location


  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Drop items in your hands (i.e. bags, jackets)
  • Raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers, such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
  • Do not ask questions when evacuating; keep moving away from the location

Additional Training Resources

Targeted Violence Resources Page.  Online videos, training and how to schedule a course.

RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. University of Michigan Public Safety video.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE INDEPENDENT STUDY COURSES: These are free online courses that take about 30 minutes; you even receive a training certificate after taking the online test!

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