Active Shooter Incident Response

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An active shooter is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims."

If faced with an active shooter incident, there are many things that can be done to make a difference.

RUN – When an active shooter is in your vicinity:

  • If there is a way out, and you can get out, GET OUT! This is your first and best option. Get out whether others agree or not
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others from entering the danger zone
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as it is safe to do so

HIDE – If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

  • Lock and/or barricade the door
  • Silence your cell phone (including vibration)
  • Hide behind large objects if possible
  • Remain very quiet and do not leave until directed by law enforcement
  • Your hiding place should:
    • Be out of the shooters view
    • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
    • Do not trap or restrict your options for movement

FIGHT - AS A LAST RESORT, and only if your life is in danger:

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with physical aggression and commit to your actions
  • Improvise weapons
  • Once the shooter is incapacitated, Call 9-1-1

POLICE RESPONSE – When law enforcement arrives:

  • Keep your hands EMPTY, raised and visible with your fingers spread apart
  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Avoid pointing, making any quick movements, grabbing or clutching, or yelling at officers
  • The first police officers to arrive will not respond to or aid those who are injured. They will go directly to the shooter.
  • Know that help for the injured is on its way. Rescue team officers and emergency personnel will care for the injured and facilitate evacuation as quickly as possible

Active Shooter Resources

The goal of preparing for active shooter incidents is to take the time to personally consider how you might respond if faced with a shooter. There is no right or wrong answer; the decision is personal and no person can know for sure how they will respond. Every person, however, should take the time to thoughfully consider possible responses for thier workstation, classroom, residence hall room and other areas they frequent on campus.

The three following resources are recommended to assist in developing a personal plan for responding to an active shooter incident. If there are questions about these materials or any other matters regarding active shooter incidents, contact Police Services at 707 664-4444.


"Run, Hide, Fight" Video

Provided by Ready Houston

"Run, Hide, Fight - Surviving an Active Shooter Event" is the video currently recommended by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI for citizen response to an active shooter incident. The video describes the considerations for the three options of running, hiding or fighting a shooter. Please note that the video is a dramatic depiction of an active shooter situation in an office setting. While the video is not graphic, the emotional, high stress scenario may be upsetting for some viewers.This video is approximately 6 minutes.

"Run, Hide, Fight - Surviving an Active Shooter Event"


"Shots Fired" Video

Sonoma State University has purchased a license agreement that allows students, faculty and staff to view an online video about surviving an active shooter situation. This is the same video we have been using for all in-person active shooter situations training. 

The Center for Personal Protection and Safety instructional DVD and training program designed to empower students, faculty, and staff with knowledge and strategies for preventing and surviving an active shooter situation.

“Shots Fired On Campus” provides individual student, faculty and staff members with critical guidance on how to recognize and survive an active shooter situation.

This 20 minute training video is accessible from any personal or campus computer on the University campus. The video is posted on Sonoma State University’s intranet. It is not posted on the internet. Due to copywrite laws, this video is only allowed to be viewed from on campus. 

"Shots Fired on Campus" video


Online Active Shooter Training

Provided by Department of Homeland Security

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have partnered in creating an online training that provides valuable information regarding active shooter incidents. After completing the approximately 30 minute training, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials
  • Recognize potential workplace violence indicators
  • Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents
  • Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident

"Active Shooter: What You Can Do" Online Training Program