An active shooter or aggressor is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area -- typically using firearms but possibly using other weapons, such as knives, or vehicles.
Active shooters or aggressors may use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices (IED) or vehicles to cause additional harm and mayhem and to impede law enforcement and emergency services responders. There may be no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, so it's important that you act quickly and that you remember Run Hide Fight.
How to respond during active shooter or aggressor attacks
The following recommendations are options to be considered and should not be thought to be sequential. Select the best course of action according to the situation in which you find yourself.
- If a safe path is available, run
- Always try to escape or evacuate even if others insist on staying
- Encourage others to leave with you but don’t let their indecision slow down your escape
- Try to prevent others from entering the danger zone.
- Keep your hands visible for law enforcement
- Call IUPD from either a non-campus phone or 911 from a campus phone to report the incident and description/location of shooter(s)
If you can’t escape, find a place to safely hide and be silent
- Turn out lights, close window blinds/curtains, lock doors if possible and silence your cell phone ringer and vibration mode
- Barricade doors and windows if able to with furniture and other objects
- Stay low to the ground but don’t sit down; be prepared to move
- Gather items to use for self-defense
- Identify other methods of evacuating should the opportunity to escape occur (other doors, stairwells or windows)
- Render first aid to the injured if safely able to do so
- If unable to evacuate, remain in place until the “All Clear” is released through IU-Notify or by law enforcement in the area
- If safe to do so, call IUPD and report your location. If shooter is in the area and able to be heard, call and keep the line open for dispatchers to listen
- As a last resort, act with aggression and use improvised weapons to distract and/or disarm the shooter
- Throw objects at the shooter’s head – aim for their eyes
- Work together as a team if others are present
- Upon use of a distraction device, immediately attempt to escape or take down the shooter
- Commit to action as your life is at risk
- Remove the weapon from the shooter’s reach and safely hide it – do not handle it because law enforcement may perceive you to be a threat
- If taking down the shooter, immobilize all limbs (arms, legs, head) until law enforcement arrives
If you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Also:
- Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing
- Move quickly
- Keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter
- Notify authorities of the location of wounded people as soon as possible
- Do not try to drive off until advised it is safe to do so by police or campus administrators
'Run, Hide, Fight' directions aren't meant to be sequential actions. 'Run' is viewed as the best option because it gets you away from the attack. 'Hide' is the second best option. The key, separate yourself from the incident if at all possible, and do what YOU need to do to protect yourself whether it's hiding or fighting.Ken Long, IU Bloomington Director of Emergency Management & Continuity
Run Hide Fight training for your colleagues, student group
IUPD and Emergency Management and Continuity at IU offer a range of safety training and presentations and collaborate on presentations about active shooter or aggressor response. Check out the Protect IU training information.