Active Shooter Preparedness Guide

Encountering an active shooter in your place of work or study space is unlikely, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Active shooter situations can change quickly and unfold rapidly. In order to stop a shooter and minimize harm to a community, an immediate response by members of that community and deployment of law enforcement resources is critical.

During an active shooter situation, individuals should use their best judgement as to whether it would be safer to run or remain in place. However, best practices for an active shooter situation are listed below.

If you witness a crime and it is safe to do so:

  • Call VSU Police at 229.259.5555 immediately.
  • Identify yourself and your exact location. Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions.
  • Relay any descriptive information about the shooter to the dispatcher.
  • If possible, make sure hallways and common areas are clear of students and staff.
  • Put a safe distance or barrier between yourself and the shooter. Be prepared to seek protection in a nearby room or to evacuate if you can safely do so.
  • Initiate a building lock-down as necessary. Use your phone tree to inform all students and staff to stay in their location and lock the door (as applicable). 

If shooter is outside your classroom/office:

  • Stay inside the classroom/office.
  • If possible, close and lock the outside door.
  • Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, and move behind available cover. Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what is happening.
  • If possible and safe to do so, monitor and report the location of the shooter to emergency personnel.
  • Under no circumstances should the fire alarm be activated. Persons may be placed in harms way when they are attempting to evacuate the building. Should the fire alarm sound, do not evacuate the building unless:
    • You have first-hand knowledge that there is a fire in the building, or
    • You have been advised by a Police Officer/University Police to evacuate the building.

If shooter is in close proximity:

  • As a last resort, if you can’t hide out and if you have absolutely no other option, confront the active shooter.
  • Be aggressive, yell, and commit to your actions.
  • Do not fight fairly - Throw items and use improvised weapons
  • Survive by any means necessary

If outside when a shooting occurs:

  • Drop to the ground immediately and lie face down as flat as possible. If within 15-20 feet of a safe place, duck and run to it.
  • Move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire.
  • When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down and do not move.
  • Wait and listen for directions from police personnel.

Notice Concerning Behavior?

It is the university’s goal to prevent any unsafe situations before they happen, so we encourage you to report all suspicious behavior and concerns as soon as you notice them. If you experience any immediate threats to your safety or the safety of others, call 911. If you notice concerning behaviors in a friend, coworker, or classmate, notify VSU Police by phone at 229.259.5555.