Active Shooter Safety

An active shooter is a person who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. An active shooter can strike anytime, anywhere, or anyone. Most active shooter situations only last 10-15 minutes. This is why it’s critical you act quickly and effectively. Today is the day to decide what you will do in an active shooter situation. Where will you exit? Where will you hide if you can’t exit? Deciding today what your options are will enable you to react quickly and effectively.

Guidance to Faculty, Staff, and Students

In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter, bearing in mind there could be more than one shooter involved in the same situation. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and use these guidelines to help you plan a strategy for survival.

  • Figure Out
    • Did you hear gunfire? If it sounded like a gunshot, act accordingly until proven otherwise.
    • Where is the threat?
    • How many shooters are there?
  • Get Out
    • Move quickly and don’t wait for others to validate your decision.
    • Leave belongings behind (except for your cellular phone if it is close to you).
  • Call Out
    • Once you get to a safe area, call 9-1-1 and give the dispatcher as much information about the incident as possible.
  • Hide Out and Keep Out (Secure-in-Place)
    • You should hide if you are unable to get out because the shooter is between you and the only exit.
    • Try to find a well hidden and well protected area to hide. Call 9-1-1 only if you can do so without alerting the shooter to your location.
    • If possible, find a room that can be locked and that has objects to hide behind.
    • Try to blockade the door with heavy furniture.
    • Turn off lights, draw blinds, move away from windows and become totally silent.
    • Turn off noise-producing devices.
    • If you are outside during a secure-in-place emergency you should seek cover in the nearest unlocked building.
    • If the buildings in the immediate area have exterior doors that have been locked, continue to move away from the danger, seek cover, move to another building, or leave campus if it is safe to do so.
  • Spread Out
    • If you have to hide, do not huddle together with others. A group of people huddled together makes an easy target for the shooter.
    • Quietly develop a plan of action in the event the shooter enters your area.
    • Remain calm and keep others focused on survival.
  • Take Out
    • If you have no other options, you may have to take out the active shooter.
    • Assume the active shooter’s intentions are lethal.
    • If you determine you have to take out the active shooter in self-defense, do what it takes to survive when your life is on the line.
    • Throw things, use improvised weapons.
    • Do the best you can. CHOOSE TO SURVIVE.
OU Police Response

OU Police will respond as quickly as possible. Below are suggestions for what to do or not to do when officers enter the room.

  • Things to do:
    • Raise your arms.
    • Spread your fingers.
    • Follow the officers’ commands.

Officers may not be able to immediately assist you as you exit the area. The officers’ primary job is to locate the shooter and neutralize the threat. Medical assistance will follow once the threat is neutralized.

  • Things not to do:
    • Do not point at the police or at the shooter.
    • Do not make quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
    • Do not have anything in your hands. Officers are trained “hands kill.”
    • Do not pull the fire alarm as a method of initiating an evacuation of the building.

Keep in mind responding officers may not initially know who the active shooter is upon their arrival.

Alert message

Upon learning of an active shooting incident, OU Police will send an alert message giving instructions to the registered faculty, staff, and students. For more information on the alert system or to register for messages, visit


If you hear or see something that may lead to an active shooting or otherwise violent situation, please contact us. Trust your gut feeling. The life you save could be your own.