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Active shooter

You should be prepared for the unfortunate event of an active shooter. Customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

How to respond in an active shooter event

If you are in an active shooter situation, determine the most reasonable way to protect yourself:


  • Have an escape route in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible.


  • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.


Choose to fight only as a last resort and only when your life is in danger at that time.

  • Attempt to overpower the active shooter.
  • Act aggressively and throw items at the active shooter.

In any active shooter situation, you should call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so.

What to do when law enforcement arrives

  • Remain calm and do what the police tell you to do.
  • Raise your hands and spread your fingers immediately.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them at all times.
  • Don’t make quick movements toward the police. Do not try to hold on to them for safety.
  • Don’t point, scream, or yell.
  • Don’t stop to ask the police for help or directions when evacuating. Go in the direction from which the police are coming into the premises.

What to provide to law enforcement or 911

  • The location of the active shooter.
  • Number of shooters, if there is more than one.
  • What the shooter(s) looked like.
  • Number and type of weapons the shooter(s) used.
  • Number of possible victims at the location.

The signs of potential workplace violence

An active shooter may be a current or past employee. Tell your human resources department if you think an employee is showing possible violent behavior. Signs of violent behavior may include one or more of the following:

  • Increased alcohol and/or illegal drug use
  • Not showing up for work
  • Acting depressed or withdrawn
  • Having mood swings or physical complaints
  • Talking about problems at home more than usual
  • Showing more emotion than usual
  • Talking about violence, firearms, dangerous weapons, or violent crimes