Response to an active shooter on campus requires a survival mindset. This mindset includes:
- Awareness: What is happening around you, using all your senses. What do gunshots sound like?
- Preparation: “What if” questions. Prepare yourself to do whatever it takes to survive.
- Rehearsal: Mentally and physically practice your plan to build confidence and react quickly.
What you should do
Figure out. What action gives me the best chance to survive? Quickly evaluate and act.
- Run out. Can I safely get to a safer location? If yes, do so immediately. Don’t wait for others to validate your decision. Leave your belongings behind.
- Hide out. If you can’t get out safely, find a place to hide. Look for a place that offers some protection, is well hidden, and offers options for movement.
Call out. When you are in a safe location, immediately call out to authorities via 911, don’t assume someone else already has called. Tell the dispatcher:
- Where you are.
- Who the shooter is: name if known and description.
- Current location of the shooter.
- Number and types of weapons involved.
- Injuries you are aware of.
Keep out. If you must hide out, do what you can to stay unnoticed and keep the shooter out.
- Lock the room door if possible.
- Turn off the room lights.
- Block the door with heavy objects.
- Keep quiet, put cell phones and pagers on silent/vibrate.
Spread out. If there are two or more people in a space, spread out.
- Spreading out, rather than huddling together, causes the shooter to hesitate in looking for targets.
- This also gives you more options for action and opportunities to get out.
- Before you spread out, quickly and quietly plan what to do if the shooter enters the area.
- Everyone in the space must get into a survival mindset and commit to working together to survive.
- Remain calm, which can be contagious, and keeps others focused on survival.
Take out. If a shooter enters your space, assume his/her intentions are lethal.
- Stick to your plan to take out the shooter, others will follow when you act.
- Use anything you have with you and in the room as weapons.
- As soon as the shooter enters, yell loudly and throw things at him/her, aiming for the face. His/her first reaction will be to shield himself/herself. Rush at the shooter and act as a team to overcome him/her.
- Total commitment is critical; don’t give up until you have won!
Remember, those in immediate danger are the real First Responders.
What will happen
- The dispatcher will notify John Carroll police, the University Heights police, and EMS.
- The first responding officers will enter the building to locate the suspect. Police officers are trained to respond directly to the area where shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
- Police officers may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or may be wearing tactical uniforms consisting of external bulletproof vests, helmets, boots, and dark clothing.
- Police officers may be carrying a shield and be armed with rifles, shotguns, and/or handguns. They may also use teargas or pepper spray.
- Regardless of how they appear, remain calm, do not be afraid of them, and follow their instructions carefully.
- Put down anything you are carrying and keep your hands visible to the police at all times.
- The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured persons. Rescue teams of other officers and medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.
- Continue to follow instructions of police and University officials until you are released.