Armed Suspect Response Guidelines

Quick Response Guidelines:

In response to alert of armed suspect in building:

  1. If you are in a classroom or office, STAY THERE; if in a hallway and you are not close to an exit, get in a room. Do not hide in restrooms.
  2. Secure the room: lock or barricade the door, cover any windows. Get out of sight from the door; stay low and quiet.
  3. Call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so.
  4. Use emergency information sources to get further information and instructions.
  5. Follow directions of emergency personnel when they arrive on the scene.

If trapped with armed suspect:

  1. Do not do anything to provoke the armed suspect. If no shooting is occurring, do what the armed suspect says and do not move suddenly.
  2. If shooting is occurring, you need to make a choice: stay still, run for an exit while zigzagging, or attack the shooter. This is very dangerous. Any option chosen may result in a negative consequence.

Detailed Response Guidelines:

These safety tips and guidelines are not all inclusive, but if understood and followed up with periodic reminders and training when feasible, it can increase your chances of surviving an active shooter incident.

Active Shooter Defined – An armed suspect(s) is discharging a firearm at community members or law enforcement or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by suspect fire.

These situations require law enforcement units to take immediate action to end the danger.

The information below provides guidelines for active shooter incidents on campus. However, every incident varies, making it impossible to provide an absolute answer for every situation.

  1. In a classroom, residence hall or office
    • If you are in a classroom, residence hall room or office, STAY THERE. Secure the door.
    • If the door has no lock and the door opens in, a heavy door wedge should be kept on hand and driven in as hard as you can, or use heavy furniture to barricade the door.
    • If the door has a window, cover it if you can. Depending on the shooter’s location, consideration may also be made to exit through windows. Have someone watch the door as you get as many students out the windows (ground floor) as calmly and quietly as possible.
    • If the windows do not open or you cannot break them or you are not on a ground floor, get out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet.
    • If no police units are on scene, move well away from the incident and find safe cover positions and wait for the police to arrive.
    • When officers arrive on scene, community members should attempt to move toward any police vehicle when safe to do so, while keeping their hands on top of their head. Follow the directions of the police.
    • Do not leave the area entirely; you may have information that responding police officers will need. Once in a safe place, stay put.
  2. In hallways or corridors
    • If in the hallways, get in a room and secure it. Unless you are close to an exit, do not run through a long hallway to get to an exit as you may encounter the shooter. Do not hide in restrooms!
  3. In large rooms or auditoriums
    • If in a gym or theater area and the shooter is not present, move to and out external exits and move toward any police unit keeping your hands on your head. Do what the police tell you!
  4. Trapped with the shooter
    • If you are trapped, do not do anything to provoke the shooter. If no shooting is occurring, do what the shooter says and do not move suddenly. Only you can draw the line on what you will or will not do to preserve your life and the lives of others.
    • If the shooter does start shooting people, you need to make a choice (at this point it is your choice): (1) stay still and hope they do not shoot you, (2) run for an exit while zigzagging, or (3) attack the shooter. Attacking the shooter is very dangerous, but certainly no more so than doing nothing in some cases. A moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one and the last thing the shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person. Any option chosen may still result in a negative consequence.
    • This is not a recommendation to attack the shooter but rather a choice to fight when there is no other option.
  5. Open Spaces
    • Stay alert and look for appropriate cover locations. Brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles or any other object that may stop firearm ammunition penetrations may be used as cover.

Always notify the police department as soon as it is safe to do so.

Call 911 or UWPD’s 24-Hour Non-Emergency number 206.685.8973 (UWPD)

These safety tips and guidelines are not all inclusive, but if understood and followed up with periodic reminders and training when feasible, it can increase your chances of surviving an active shooter incident.

(source: http://www.washington.edu/admin/police/Active_Shooter/index.html)