Active Shooter/Hostile Intruder Preparedness

A hostile intruder situation can change rapidly. In addition to being aware of your surroundings and escape routes, thinking about how you will react to a hostile intruder situation in advance will help you act quickly and efficiently.

"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. 

The following video, developed by the City of Houston, describes life saving reactions to an active shooter.  


If possible, run to an exit and get to a safe location - this is your first option. If a safe exit is available, take it immediately and encourage others to come with you, but do not let them slow you down.


If a safe escape is not possible, hide until help arrives or safe exit is available. Close, lock, and barricade doors and windows, turn off lights, hide behind something thick, and silence cell phones. Your goal is not only to stay out of sight, but to prevent the shooter from reaching you. Barricades also distract the shooter, allowing more time for you and responders. Do not answer the door or respond to voice commands until you are sure they are coming from police or other legitimate responders.


As a last resort, and only is your life is in danger, you may choose to fight. Be aggressive, use improvised weapons (fire extinguishers, scissors, hot coffee, glass items, or anything else available), and commit to your actions. Fight as a group if possible. This action also distracts the shooter and allows time and opportunity for police to act.

Want to prepare for other emergencies?

Check out our emergency procedures for info on other kinds of potential emergencies.