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Surviving an Active Shooter

Should a critical incident involving an active shooter occur on campus, your chances of survival could be significantly enhanced by being aware of and following the following basic safety tips.

Mentality Of An Active Shooter:

  • Desire is to kill and seriously injure others without concern for his safety or threat of capture.

  • Normally has intended victims and will search them out.
  • Accepts targets of opportunity while searching for or after finding intended victims.
  • Will continue to move throughout the building/area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide, or other intervention.

If Armed Subject Is Outside The Building
  • Secure the immediate area/room.
- Turn off all the lights.
- If possible, close and lock all windows and doors.
- Close the blinds or cover the windows.
- Barricade the doors.
- Turn off radios and silence cell phones.
  • Stay calm and quiet.
  • If you can do so safely, get on the floor and out of the line of fire.
  • Move to a core area of the building if it is safe to do so.
  • Remain there until an "all clear" instruction is given by an authorized, known voice. Unknown or unfamiliar voices may be an attempt to trick or mislead you.
If Armed Subject Is Inside The Building:
  • If it is possible to flee the area safely and avoid danger, do so. Get as far away from the shooting scene as possible and then contact the police.
  • If flight is impossible, secure the immediate area/room as stated above.
  • Stay calm and quiet.
  • Get down on the floor or under a desk and out of the line of fire.
  • Remain there until the "all clear" instruction is given by an authorized, known voice.
If Armed Subject Enters Your Class/Office:
  • There is no one procedure authorities can recommend in this situation.
  • Stay calm. Don't let fear paralyze you and don't make it easy for the armed subject to injure or kill you.
  • Hide or flee if possible.
  • Attempts to negotiate with an active shooter will probably be futile. Remember, the mentality of an active shooter is to kill and seriously injure others without concern for his safety or threat of capture.
  • Never comply with irrational demands or an irrational person.
  • Attempting to overcome the armed subject with force is a tactic that should only be initiated if you feel your personal safety is in danger.
  • Turn the element of surprise back on the active shooter. Screaming, scattering in different directions, and throwing items (books, backpacks, desks, etc.) at the armed subject can create an atmosphere of chaos, distraction, and sensory overload for the armed subject.
  • Aggressive action such as throwing items at or attacking the armed subject in superior numbers can interrupt the active shooter's plans and expectations.
  • Inaction serves to fuel an active shooter's need for power and control.
Un-securing An Area:
  • Consider risks before un-securing rooms.
  • Remember, an active shooter will usually not stop until he is engaged by an outside force or commits suicide.
  • Attempts to rescue people should not be attempted unless the attempt can be accomplished without additional risk to the persons inside a secured area.
  • Consider the safety of masses vs. the safety of a few.
  • If any doubt exists regarding the safety of the individuals inside a secured area, the area should remain secured.

What To Report To Police:
  • Your specific location:

  • - Building name or number
    - Office or classroom number
  • Number of people at your location.
  • Injuries:
- Number of people injured
- Type of injuries
  • Number of assailants.
  • Race and gender of assailant
  • Clothing description (color & style)
  • Physical features such as height, weight, age, hair color, facial hair, glasses, etc.
  • Do you recognize the shooter? What's his name?
  • Number and type of weapons (rifle, shotgun, handgun).
  • Does the assailant have a backpack?
  • Have you heard explosions separate from gunshots?

Law Enforcement Response:
  • Law enforcement's initial concern is to locate, contain and stop the shooter.
  • Injured persons:
- Initial responding officers will not begin evacuation or treatment of the
injured until the threat is neutralized.
- You may need to explain this to others in an attempt to calm them.
- Once the shooter is contained, officers will begin treatment and evacuation.
  • Evacuation:
- Safety corridors will be established. This may be time consuming. Be
- Remain in secure areas until instructed otherwise.
- You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head or to keep your
hands up with your palms facing outward.
- You may be searched.
- The entire area will be treated as a crime scene.
- You may be escorted out of the building by law enforcement personnel.
- Once you have been evacuated, you may not be permitted to retrieve items
or access the crime scene.
- After evacuation, you may be taken to a holding area for medical care,
interviewing, counseling, etc.

Contacting Emergency Personnel:

If you see an armed individual on campus at any time or if an individual is acting in a hostile or belligerent manner, contact the SIUE Police Department immediately.

Emergency Police Phone Number = 911
(In a critical incident, 911 may be overwhelmed. In that case, call the non-emergency number.)

SIUE PD Non-Emergency Phone Number:
(618) 650-3324

e lert Messaging Service for Campus Emergency Notifications:
Students, staff, and faculty will receive notification of emergency situations via e-mail and the SIUE web site at

Students, staff, and faculty may also elect to receive notification of emergency situations via the University's " e-lert" text messaging service. This service is free of charge and may be obtained by clicking on "Sign Up Now" at and registering for the service. This service is available only to SIUE students, staff, or faculty.
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