Free Emergency
Services Quote
(661) 396-7908

How to Handle an Active Shooter

Sadly, in today’s world, active shootings in public places are becoming more common. Therefore, it is pertinent that each person and organization knows how to react if they find themselves in this scary situation. Having a plan before a shooting occurs, can be lifesaving. Here are some tips provided by the U.S Department of Homeland Security.


The best thing to do, if an escape route is accessible, is to evacuate the premises immediately.

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

Hide Out

If there are no means of escape, then find a place to hide.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

Take Action

The last resort is to take action against the shooter.

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

Emergency Action Plan

Each organization should have an Emergency Action Plan set in place and train their staff. Local law enforcement is a great resource to help with designing the policies, setting up the procedures, and putting together training exercises.

For more helpful information on responding to an active shooter, interacting with local authorities, and training your staff, download this booklet provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Another great resource is their pocket cards.