Active Shooter

The Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”

These incidents happen quickly and are usually over within 10 to 15 minutes. Everyone must be prepared to react quickly to an active shooter situation.​

How to prepare before it happens

  • Take time to know your surroundings. For areas you frequent, consider multiple routes to escape and places to hide in the event of an incident.
  • Attend an Active Shooter Response training course. To register, visit Learn@Work.
  • If you see something, say something. Call WUPD (Danforth, West and North campuses) at 314-935-5555 or Protective Services (Medical School) at 314-362-4357 to report suspicious activity.

What to do when it happens

Every active shooter/person with a weapon incident is different. You will have to quickly evaluate the situation and choose the best course of action. If you become aware of an active shooter, you have three options: RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT.


If you become aware of someone in your building who has a firearm and is shooting, or threatening to shoot:

  • Get out of the building immediately if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way. Leave your belongings behind
  • Notify anyone along the way to get out.
  • Take shelter in another building or leave campus if you are able to safely do so.
  • Call the emergency contact number for your location. 
  • Danforth Campus: 314-935-5555
  • School of Medicine: 314-362-4357
  • North/West/South Campus & Tyson Research: 911 then 314-935-5555​


If you are unable to leave the building:

  • Lock yourself inside of a room and move furniture in front of the door.
  • Cover the windows and turn off any lights.
  • Silence your mobile device(s).
  • Do not answer the door for anyone.
  • Ignore any fire alarms as they may be a trick to draw people into the open.
  • Call the emergency contact number for your location.
  • Danforth Campus: 314-935-5555
  • School of Medicine: 314-362-4357
  • North/West/South Campus & Tyson Research: 911 then 314-935-5555​

    As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, try to disrupt or take down the shooter:

  • Act as aggressively as possible.
  • Throw items at the shooter.
  • Yell.
  • Look for items that could be used as a weapon.
  • Stay committed to your actions.
  • What to do right after it happens

  • Remain in your safe location until instructed otherwise by law enforcement officials.
  • Provide all requested information to law enforcement officials.

For more information, please visit:​

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