What is an Active Threat?
An active threat occurs when someone is 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.
What are Mass Attacks?
Types of Mass Attacks
- Active Shooter Information Sheet (PDF)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Active Shooter Preparedness Resources (Training, videos, brochures and more for individualized audiences link)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Active Shooter Preparedness Resources Translated
Always be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
If you see something, say something to local authorities. That includes suspicious packages, people behaving strangely, or someone using strange communications.
Observe Warning Signs
Signs might include unusual or violent communications, expressed anger or intent to cause harm and substance abuse. These warning signs may increase over time.
Have An Exit Plan
Identify exits and areas to hide wherever you go, including work, school and special events.
Learn Lifesaving Skills
Take trainings such as You Are the Help Until Help Arrives and first aid to assist the wounded before help arrives.
Survive During An Active Threat
During the COVID-19 pandemic, focus on Run. Hide. Fight. Do not worry about social distancing, wearing a mask, or reducing the spread of COVID-19 during an active shooter situation.
Take care of yourself first and then, if you are able, help the wounded get to safety and provide immediate care. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Run to Safety
- Seek safety. Getting away from the attacker is the top priority.
- Leave your belongings behind and get away. If you are not wearing a mask, do not stop to put one on. It is more important to run to safety.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the attacker, location and weapons.
Cover and Hide
- If you can’t evacuate, cover and hide. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker and if possible, put a solid barrier between yourself and the threat. If you are hiding with people who are not part of your household, wear a mask and maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and others, if possible. Children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot remove masks on their own should not wear them. Do not leave your hiding place to retrieve your mask.
- Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.
- Keep silent.
Defend, Disrupt, Fight
- Fight only as a last resort. When you can’t run or cover, attempt to disrupt the attack or disable the attacker.
- Be aggressive and commit to your actions.
- Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.
- Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the attacker.
Help The Wounded
- Take care of yourself first.
- If you are able, help the wounded get to safety and provide immediate care.
- If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Be Safe AFTER
When Law Enforcement Arrives
- Remain calm and follow instructions.
- Keep hands visible and empty.
- Report to designated areas to provide information and get help.
- Follow law enforcement’s instructions and evacuate in the direction they tell you to.
- Listen to law enforcement’s messages for information about the situation. Share updates with family and friends.
Consider Seeking Professional Help
- Be mindful of your health. If needed, seek help for you and your family to cope with the trauma.
- Engage virtually with your community through video and phone calls. Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed. Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset.