What to Do If There’s an Active Shooter Nearby

photo from video with words Run Hide Fight

Whether it’s an incident like the shootings in Orlando or San Bernardino, or you are in the checkout line at the mall or drafting an email in your cubicle – what would you do if you heard gun shots and realized an active shooter was nearby?

Just like in any other emergency situation, the best thing you can do is to be prepared with information on what to do next.

Take a few minutes to review the three options that will help you to quickly determine how to protect yourself.


  • If there is an escape route, attempt to evacuate.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Follow instructions of responding emergency personnel.


  • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
  • Send a text message to 9-1-1 if you’re able, but ensure your safety first.



As a last resort and only when life is in imminent danger.

  • Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.


Information to Provide to 9-1-1

Whether you text or call, here’s what you should provide to 911:

  • Location of the active shooter.
  • Number of shooters.
  • Physical description of shooters.
  • Number and type of weapons shooter has.
  • Number of potential victims at location.


When You Are in a Safe Place

When public safety personnel arrives, you should:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Raise hands and spread fingers.
  • Keep hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling.



Watch this video, which provides you with a real-life scenario using these three options. Video courtesy of the City of Houston, Texas.



More information can be found in this booklet and other active shooter resources:


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