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  • Writer's pictureBunny S. Galladora

Active Shooter Response Plan

Know What To Do - Run.Hide.Fight

The Federal Emergency Management Agency defines active shooter situations as situations where a person(s) is "actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area."

Because they evolve quickly, individuals must be prepared to deal with the situation before law enforcement is able to arrive on the scene.

Take time to watch a short video by clicking on the link below. It has great information that may save your life in the unlikely event you find yourself in an active shooter situation.


  • Run If possible, evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.

  • Help others escape.

  • Do not move injured people.

  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.


  • Lock yourself in a safe room and put heavy objects against the door.

  • Close curtains, stay away from windows and turn off lights.

  • Call 911. Then turn your phone off.


  • The last option you have may be to fight/defend.

  • Find any object that can be used as a weapon.

Know the Warning Signs

No profile exists for an active shooter; however, research indicates there may be signs or indicators. Government agencies suggest there are observable pre-attack behaviors, which, if recognized, could lead to the disruption of a planned attack.

Contextually inappropriate behaviors that should prompt further attention include:

  • Recent acquisitions of multiple weapons

  • Recent escalation in target practice and weapons training

  • Recent interest in explosives

  • Intense interest or fascination with previous shootings or mass attacks.

Some shooters had experienced a significant real or perceived personal loss leading up to the attack, such as a breakup, divorce, or loss of a job.

Be Prepared:

  • Learn the signs and ways to prevent an incident.

  • Learn the best steps for survival.

  • Learn how to work with law enforcement during the response.

When Law Enforcement Arrives

The primary duty of law enforcement when they arrive is to find the person(s) who is causing a problem or is an armed aggressor so they can neutralize the threat.

  • Rescue teams will likely be in various types of uniforms or street clothes.

  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, may use pepper spray or tear gas.

  • Keep yourself calm.

  • Officers will need to establish safe corridors for persons to evacuate. This may take time.

  • It is important for people to stay where they are.

  • You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head and you may be searched.

  • Expect the officers to treat the entire area as a crime scene and everyone with suspicion.

  • Law enforcement will establish secure assembly points and will question all witnesses.

  • Usually, officers will not allow anyone to leave until the situations is under control.

  • Once you are evacuated, you will not be permitted to retrieve any personal items.

In any dangerous situation, the better-prepared people are able to discern threats and react swiftly the more lives can be saved. This is especially true in an active shooter situation.

It is important to recognize the past active shooter incidents have shown that there is no time, room, or intention for negotiation. The perpetrator(s) is there to cause as much injury as possible in the least amount of time possible. Often there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, therefore, individuals must be prepared to deal with the situation before law enforcement arrives on the scene. A FBI study of the 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the United States between the years of 2000 and 2013 shows that 90 ended before the police arrived, 64 incidents ended in 5 minutes or less, with 23 ending in 2 minutes or less.

The study identified 21 of the 160 incidents where unarmed citizens made the selfless and deeply personal choice to face the danger of an active shooter. In those instances, the citizens safely and successfully disrupted the shooting. In 11 of the 21 incidents, unarmed school staff and students confronted the shooters to end the threat. In 10 incidents, citizens, working or shopping when the shooting began successfully restrained shooters until the police arrived. In 6 other incidents, armed off-duty police officers, citizens, and security guards risked their lives to successfully end the threat. These actions likely saved the lives of students and others present.

Help other be prepared. A trifold handout containing this information is available from Signal Press. Order copies for everyone in your place of worship and for others places of worship in your community.

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