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Active Shooter
ACTIVE SHOOTER OR HOSTILE INTRUDER

An active shooter is an event in which one or more persons are actively engaging in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.  In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no apparent pattern or method to their selection of victims.  These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, with immediate deployment of law enforcement officers to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent people. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY
Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that others are likely to follow your lead during an active shooter situation.
"WHAT IF" THINKING
Thinking through scenarios in your head can help you respond faster. Take time to understand your surroundings and environment then make a plan.  
During an active shooter or hostile intruder event, there are three choices an individual can make:  
Run.  Hide.  Fight. 
Please view the following video which describes lifesaving reactions to an active shooter.  You will need to use your Illinois College login and password to view.

1. RUN
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:
  • 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
2. HIDE
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:
  • Be out of the active shooter's view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
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 9-1-1, 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
3. FIGHT
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:
  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Fighting as a group if possible
  • Committing to your actions
HOW TO RESPOND WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES
Law enforcement's purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.
  • Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4)
  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety
How to react when law enforcement arrives:
  • Remain calm and follow officers' instructions
  • Remove any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating. Proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises
Information to provide to law enforcement or 9-1-1 operator:
  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of shooter/s
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
  • Number of potential victims at the location
The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.
After  you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave the safe location or assembly point until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.
Adapted from Department of Homeland Security publication "Active Shooter: How to Respond" published 2008

Prepared by Mark Lawson, Department of Public Security at Illinois College. For more information, contact Public Security at 217-245-3111 or mklawson@mail.ic.edu.

    
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