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Active shooter training: Do you know what to do?

Unfortunately we’ve all seen on the news incidents of active shooter incidents all around the world. Shopping malls, schools, airports, nightclubs and offices have all been places where these incidents have taken place.

As part of the on-going emergency preparedness program here at Carlisle Barracks, exercises are held regularly on everything from severe weather to simulated IED attacks.

The question is, do you know what to do in the event of an active shooter incident in your building or office?

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 other populated area.” In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.

There are a few simple things to remember – run, hide or fight – that is explained in more detail below.

All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations.


  • 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.
  • SHELTER-IN-PLACE – 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.
  • PROTECT 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.