Active Threat

It is always possible that actions by an internal or external party could threaten campus safety. It is important for all campus community members to understand how to respond to an active threat on campus. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) website has excellent information on the topic, including the  Department of Public Safety Active Threat Video. DPS offers active threat training to student groups and departments on campus.

If an active threat is outside your building

  • If you are reasonably sure you can escape without being harmed, do so
  • Proceed to a room that can be locked
  • Shut off lights and lock all windows and doors and stay out of sight
  • One person in the room should call the police at 9-911 (911 from non-campus or cell phones
  • Wait to leave until given instructions to do so by law enforcement via phone or another contact

If an active threat is in the building where you are located

  • If the room that you are in can be locked, follow the same procedures listed above. If your room cannot be locked, determine whether you can safely exit the building or safely reach a nearby location that is able to be locked.
  • If you can not reach a safer location, barricade yourself in your room by placing heavy furniture or other items in front of the door
  • If you decide to move from your current location, call 9-911 (911 from non-campus or cell phones) if possible. Give your name and location. If you cannot speak, leave the line open so law enforcement can listen to what is taking place.

If an active threat enters your office or classroom

  • If you cannot escape, make every attempt to conceal yourself and/or take cover behind the most solid object you can find (i.e., desk, cabinet or row of seats/chairs)
  • As a last resort, you may decide that your survival depends on overpowering the threatening individual with whatever means available. Throwing or tossing readily accessible items at the individual may momentarily distract him/her and may allow you an opening to overpower him/her.
  • If you decide to charge an individual armed with a gun to overpower or disarm him/her, running in a zigzag fashion will diminish the shooter’s accuracy. Your chances for survival increase since the individual is not expecting this sudden reaction.
  • Dial 9-911 (911 from non-campus or cell phones) if possible and give your name and location. If you cannot speak, leave the line open so the police can listen to what is taking place.
  • If the threatening individual leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and call 9-911 (911 from non-campus or cell phones) to provide information to law enforcement:
    • Lock and barricade the door or:
    • Proceed immediately to a safer place

General Quick Response Guide

  • Lock and barricade doors
  • Turn off lights (to make the area appear unoccupied)
  • Close blinds
  • Silence cell phones but do not turn them completely off
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors
  • Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight
  • Seek cover and barricade yourself (with others if possible) by placing as much material as possible between you and the threat
  • As soon as it is safe to do so, notify law enforcement by calling 9-911 (911 from non-campus or cell phones)
  • Do not approach emergency responders, let them come to you
  • Raise both your hands over your head when approached or confronted by emergency responders. This is the universal surrender signal. Otherwise, emergency responders may not know the difference between you and the threat.
  • Remain under cover until the threat has passed or you have been advised by law enforcement that it is safe to exit
  • Activate registered cell phones** (in silent mode) to receive campus emergency notifications that may be sent through the AlertSU system
  • Do not sound the fire alarms unless there is a fire. Fire alarms alert people to evacuate a building. Evacuation during an active threat event could place people in harm’s way.

**The university emergency alert system, AlertSU, will be used to notify you of critical life safety issues on campus. Go to (students use and make sure your personal contact information is registered with AlertSU. For more information about the AlertSU system, please visit

Refer to Department of Public Safety