Q: What should I do during a Campus Lockdown?

What is a lock-down?

  • Classrooms should close and lock doors if possible. Stay away from windows.
  • Students in residence halls must remain in their rooms with the door locked.
  • Staff will remain in their offices, or secure area, preferably without windows, with the door locked.
  • Faculty will move students to any lockable room in the building or remain in the classroom with the door barricaded if possible.

What YOU should do in the event of a lockdown alert:

  • If you are in a classroom or office area, immediately lock the entry door and turn off the lights. Keep students inside, away from windows and take cover if possible.
  • If the threat is in your immediate area, DO NOT lock the aggressor in your area with you.
  • If you are in a common area, seek the nearest secure shelter (i.e. a nearby classroom, office, bathroom, etc.)
  • If you are in or near the parking lot, seek shelter in your vehicle and lock the doors. DO NOT leave the campus. Await contact by police personnel and follow instructions.
  • Remain in your secured area until further instructions are provided. This may take some time and will require patience.
  • Until the Police determine the identity of the suspect they will treat all students, staff, and visitors as if they are the potential aggressor. As such, put your hands up high over your head and follow all instructions
  • IMPORTANT: If you are locked down in your office, a classroom, or other area, it is important that you remain locked down as police pass through the area to investigate and secure the threat. If police enter your office or area, show them your hands and spread your fingers. If there is no threat in your area, the police will move to the next area. REMAIN IN LOCKDOWN!
  • Once the threat has been contained, a police officer accompanied by a university representative will move from area to area to release people from the lockdown. Wait for the official release. This will take some time. Please remain in your area, as it will be imperative to provide medical assistance if necessary, and the police and/or security may need additional information from you regarding the incident.

Lockdowns in an Active Assailant Situation

You will be notified through the emergency notification that the university is on Lockdown status.

Profile of an Active Assailant

Note - The news media often refers to these as Active Shooters, but there have been instances where the assailants used other weapons besides guns. Thus, we are using the term "Active Assailant" throughout this document. However, should there be an actual Active Shooter situation, the university will use that term to specifically let the campus know this incident involves an armed shooter.

An Active Assailant is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active assailants use firearms and/or weapons; there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active assailant situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the armed assailant and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active assailant situations are often over within minutes, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active assailant situation.

Good practices for coping with an active assailant situation

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
  • Take note of the nearest exits in any facility you visit.
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the assailant down. When the assailant is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her. Throw books or items at the assailant to distract and then attempt to take them out.

How to Respond When an Active Assailant is in Your Vicinity

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that students and campus visitors are likely to follow the lead of faculty and staff during an active assailant situation.

1. Evacuate. 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 escape, if possible.
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active assailant may be.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.

2. Hide (Protect in Place). If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active assailant is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the assailant's view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office/classroom with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an assailant from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active assailant is nearby:

  • Lock the door.
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager.
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions).
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks).
  • Remain quiet.

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

* Remain calm.

* Dial 911 if possible, to alert police to the assailant's location.

* If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.

3. Take action against the assailant As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active assailant by:

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

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement's purpose is to stop the assailant as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area where the assailant was last seen.

  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment.
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns.
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.
  • Officers may shout commands or push individuals to the ground for their safety.

What to expect when law enforcement arrives:

  •  Remain calm, and follow officers' instructions.
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets).
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers.
  • Keep hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers, such as holding on to them for safety.
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling.
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
 Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:
  • Location of the assailant
  • Number of shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of assailant/s
  • Number and type of weapons held by the assailant/s
  • Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive on the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises. Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.