Please visit our training webpage for more details as well as an online training program for active shooter preparedness.
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
If an individual is observed with a weapon near a SMU location:
- Establish a survival mindset — Run, Hide, or Fight — try to escape the area or to find a safe location.
- Call 911
- After calling 911, notify Public Safety 360-438-4555
- Find a safe location and await Public Safety or police instruction.
- If appropriate, a Lockdown may be called. Be prepared to go into Lockdown.
During an active shooter incident, time is critical. If gunshots are heard, it is critical to avoid getting closer to the area to see what is happening. Instead, people need to act quickly to get as far away as possible, warning others as they leave.
If unable to escape, making an office or classroom into a shelter may be the only possibility. Doors should be locked (or blocked), windows covered, and cover (like thick tables or desks) used. Call 911 to notify authorities what is happening and that you are trapped. Do not answer the door if someone knocks. It may take quite a while for officers to get to you, as they will first focus on stopping the shooter(s). Remember, the longer it takes to get to you, the further away from the actual shooting you are likely to be.
If you have been trapped and are able to find a means of escape or self-defense, use them when you can do so as safely as possible. If directly confronted by the shooter, self-defense with what is available may be the only viable option.
- Attempting to overcome the suspect with force and resistance is the last resort, which should only be considered in extreme circumstances. Only you can decide if this is something you should do.
- Look for appropriate cover/protection (brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked cars, etc.).
- There may be more than one (1) shooter and there could be explosive devices.
- Do not touch anything in the area, as it is a crime scene.
- When fleeing, get as far away from the shooting scene as quickly and safely possible - do not take/carry anything with you.
- Police will quickly respond to the area in which a subject was last seen, or shots were last heard and attempt to immediately engage/contain the active shooter.
- First-arriving officers will not stop to assist the injured, evacuate personnel or answer questions.
- Keep your hands empty and visible at all times.
- Place signs in exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons.
- Review Lockdown procedures in this guide and in the Emergency Response Plan.
Read more in Run, Hide, Fight!
Watch Shooter On Campus: Know You Can Survive!
Emergency Management Institute Independent Study Courses: These are free online courses you can take and receive a FEMA Certificate on completion. Each course will take you from 30 minutes to an hour.
Homeland Security Active Shooter Resource Site: This is a great website if you want to find anything from the “Active Shooter: How to Respond” materials (handbook, pocket card, poster, etc) to webinars.