The UTC Police Department trains consistently for critical incidents and other emergency situations. We feel that equipping you with this information is vital, should an incident ever occur.
This document provides guidance to faculty, staff, students, and visitors who may be caught in an active shooting, bomb threat or hostage situation—the police response to these situations is different.
Some Guidelines for Responding to an Active Shooter
An “active shooter” is a person or persons who appear to be actively killing or attempting to kill people in a single location. These situations are dynamic in nature and require immediate action by law enforcement personnel to stop the shooter.
How one responds at an active shooter situation will be determined by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and use the following guidelines as a strategy for survival.
If an active shooter is outside your building:
- Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded
- Lock all doors and windows, turn out the lights and stay away from and lower than the windows. Barricade the door if you can not lock it.
- Dial 9-1-1 and advise the dispatcher of what is taking place and your location. Remain on the line to give the dispatcher any further information that may be needed
- Remain in the room until the police or a campus administrator gives the “all clear.” Be sure it is the police or a campus administrator who is giving the “all clear” and not the shooter attempting to gain entry into the room
If an active shooter is inside the building with you:
- If the room can be locked, lock it and stay away from the door
- If the room cannot be locked, determine if there is a nearby room that you could safely get to that can be locked. Consider barricading the door if you can not lock it.
- Follow the procedures listed above under “If an active shooter is outside your building”
If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:
- Dial 9-1-1 on your office phone or cell phone if possible
- If it is possible to talk, give shooter’s location and description
- If it is not safe to speak, just leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what is taking place
- If possible, attempt to negotiate with the shooter
- Attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered as the last resort after all other options have been exhausted
- If the shooter leaves the area, attempt to lock the door or barricade the door or proceed to a safe location
If you are able to and decide to flee an active shooting situation:
- Have a route of escape in mind
- Leave everything behind except your cell phone (do not worry about purses or book bags – those will only slow you down.
- Keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of the police. You must remember, the police may not have an accurate description of the shooter(s), so for everyone’s safety, you may be detained by the police
- Do not stop to assist wounded victims or attempt to move them. Do tell the police where these victims are located
What you should expect from responding law enforcement to an active shooter:
- Police are trained to proceed as quickly as possible to the sound of the gunfire
- Their purpose is to stop the shooter(s)
- Officers may be in plainclothes, patrol uniforms or SWAT Uniforms armed with long rifles, shotguns, and handguns
- Do as the officers direct you and keep your hands visible at all times
- If possible, tell the officers where the shooter(s) was last seen and a description of the shooter(s)
- Also be aware that the first responding police officers will not stop to assist injured people. Others will follow to treat the injured. First responding officers are trained to proceed as quickly as possible to the gunfire and to stop the shooter(s).
Keep in mind that once you are in a safe location, the entire scene is a crime scene. The police usually will not let anyone leave until the situation is completely under control. Police may ask for your statement of what you heard and observed. Please cooperate with the police.
Here is a link to a video that summarizes these points. This video is produced by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT)™ Program at Texas State University.
Some Guidelines for Responding to a Hostage Situation
How one responds in a hostage situation will be determined by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in such a situation, try to remain calm. It is generally recommended that you follow the directions of the hostage-taker.
The police response to this situation is different than an active shooter. The police will not proceed immediately into the situation but will surround the area and attempt to set up negotiations with the hostage-taker. A hostage situation could last for hours or days. The ultimate goal is for the hostage-taker to release all hostages and peacefully surrender to the police.
If the hostage-taker begins to kill or injure people or if the negotiators believe the hostage-taker is about to start killing or injuring people, police will respond as they do to an active shooter situation. The police will likely respond immediately to stop the shooter.
Some Guidelines for Responding to a Bomb Threat
Bomb threats usually occur by telephone. Try to keep the caller on the line as long as possible.
- Try to stay calm and obtain as much information as possible by using the checklist on the next page.
- Contact the Campus Police immediately and give them any information you were able to obtain from the caller, as well as what time you received the call and where you are calling from.
- Inform your supervisor or department head.
- The police will be responsible for building evacuation.
- If you are instructed to evacuate the building, move a safe distance away from the building. Do not re-enter the building until told that it is safe to do so by authorized personnel.
- If you should see a suspicious object or package, report it to the Campus Police. DO NOT TOUCH it or move it in any way.
- You will be asked to fill out the following form if you received the threat by phone: Bomb Threat Call Form.