active shooter
Surviving an Active Shooter in the Workplace
Surviving an Active Shooter in the Workplace

Surviving an Active Shooter in the Workplace

With the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, and the workplace shooting in Orlando, the public needs to know what to do in the event of an active shooter situation. An active shooter/ hostile intruder is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area by any means including but not limited to firearms, bladed weapons, vehicles, or any tool that in the circumstance in which it is used constitutes deadly physical force. In the workplace, the chance of survival can increase if your staff are prepared. Here are some guidelines in the event of an active shooter.


EVACUATE – Run: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others evacuate, if possible.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.

SEEK SHELTER – Hide: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. an office with a closed and locked door).
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement.
  • To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
  • Lock the door.
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture.
  • If the active shooter is nearby:
    • – Lock the door.
    • – Silence your cell phone and/or pager.
    • – Turn off any source of noise (i.e. radio, television).
    • – Hide behind large items (i.e. cabinets, desks).
    • – Remain quiet.

DEFEND YOURSELF – Fight: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons.
  • Yelling.
  • Committing to your actions.


  • Put down any items in your hands.
  • Keep hands visible.
  • Follow all instructions.
  • Avoid making quick movements towards officers.
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.

The Homeland Security active shooter preparedness website has plenty of information and resources as well, including a downloadable preparedness fact sheet to keep with you just in case. Other resources can be found at this website.

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