An active shooter can be described as a person who causes death or serious bodily injury through the use of a firearm. This is a dynamic situation that usually evolves rapidly and demands an immediate response from law enforcement officers to terminate the life-threatening situation. The immediate response of the first officers on the scene is to take aggressive action to find and stop the shooter or shooters.
HIDE OR EVACUATE and CALL 911
Points to Remember
- Officers from UW-W Police and City of Whitewater Police will likely be first to respond to the scene. As they move into the affected area, rescue efforts will be delayed until the shooter is located and stopped, or no longer a threat to safety.
- Try to stay calm and patient during this time. Do not interfere with police operations. If you know information about the shooter, tell the police.
- If you are wounded, officers will bypass you to search for and stop the shooter. Rescue teams will follow shortly to aid you and others.
- When you encounter the police, keep your hands empty and in view. Listen to police instructions. If you are evacuating, do not carry anything that might be mistaken for a weapon.
How to Respond in Various Scenarios
Shooter OUTSIDE your building:
- Turn off all lights, close and lock all windows and doors. If you cannot lock the door, block the door with desks and chairs.
- If you can do so safely, get all occupants on the floor and out of line of fire.
- If you can do so safely, move to the core area of the building. Remain there until the police tell you it is safe to leave. Do not respond to commands until you are certain they are issued by a police officer.
Shooter INSIDE your building:
- If it is possible to escape the area safely and avoid danger, do so by the nearest exit or window.
- As you exit the building, keep hands above your head and listen for instructions by police officers.
- If you are unable to escape the building, move out of hallway and into an office or classroom. Try to lock the door. If the door will not lock, try barricading the door with desks and chairs. Lie on the floor and/or under a desk. Remain silent. Wait for the police to find you.
Shooter ENTERS office or classroom:
- There is no set procedure in this situation. If possible, call 911 and talk with a police dispatcher. If you cannot speak, leave phone line open so police can hear what is happening.
- Use common sense. If you are hiding and flight is impossible, attempts to negotiate with the suspect may be successful. “Playing dead” may also be a consideration.
- Attempting to overcome suspect with force is a last resort. Consider only in most extreme circumstances. Only you can decide if this is something you should do.
- If the shooter exits your area and you are able to escape, leave the area immediately. While escaping—as soon as you see a police officer—put your hands over your head.
- Immediately comply with officer’s instructions.