Active Shooter "OUT" Strategy
An active shooter is a person who is using a firearm or other weapon with the intent
to injure or kill others. Law enforcement personnel will deploy to the location of the
active shooter with the primary goal of stopping the shooter.
An active shooter incident can occur under a variety of circumstances, so no single
set of guidelines is able to cover specific actions to take in every situation. Even so,
familiarity with the following information can help with planning your own survival
strategy in a variety of incidents.
Research shows that if you have thought in advance about what you would do in
the event of an incident, your chances of survival are greatly improved.
Survival Strategies in the Event of an Active ShooterIf you can remember one word, it should be OUT!
GET OUT — RUN.
Your best option always is to run, get out and get away. Put as much distance
between you and the shooter.
CALL OUT — Call 911
If possible, take care of your safety first by getting to a safe place. Run, hide and
barricade or lock the door first, then call 911. If it is safe, stay on the phone and
give the dispatcher the best information you can.
If you are not able to get out, find a place to hide. If there is no way to get out or
hide, playing dead could save your life. If you are hiding when the police come,
realize that they will not know if you’re a victim or shooter. FOLLOW THEIR
If you can’t get out, lock or barricade the door to the room you are in. Make sure
the barricade stays in place, holding it from a safe position, if necessary.
TAKE OUT — Fight or Flight!
If you are unable to flee the area and are faced with a life or death situation, fight
back and “take out” the shooter. This is a last resort, but could mean the difference
between life and death.
When exiting the building in an active shooter incident:
- Have a route pre-planned.
- Do not carry items such as backpacks or jackets.
- Move quickly and keep your hands visible, with palms raised upward.
- Do not attempt to treat or remove injured persons, but note their locations so that you may provide the information to emergency personnel.
- Proceed to a safe location away from the scene, but stay in the general area in case law enforcement personnel need to speak with you.
- Always comply with commands from law enforcement officers.
What to expect from responding officers:
Police officers responding to an active shooter may be wearing regular uniforms or
special tactical gear, but they will clearly be identified as law enforcement officers.
- Responding officers will point firearms at you while seeking the threat. This is a normal part of their training and response. Avoid any sudden furtive movements and obey all officer commands. Keep your hands visible to officers at all times.
- Responding officers are trained to proceed immediately to the area where shooting is taking place to neutralize the threat. If you are injured, they will not stop to assist you.
- Another group of officers and/or tactical medics will follow to provide medical assistance and help with evacuation.
- Remain calm and immediately comply with all commands from law enforcement officers.
- GET OUT
- CALL OUT
- HIDE OUT
- KEEP OUT
- TAKE OUT
(The “Out” strategy is courtesy of the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, 2007)