Threats of violence in the workplace, on campus, or in other populated public spaces can occur at anytime and are often random and unfold with little or no warning. Although these events are typically active shooter events, attackers have been known to employ other weapons, especially those that are less easily detected like knives or small explosives.
In all cases, it is possible to prepare yourself and increase your chances of staying safe and staying alive.
See Something, Say Something — This campaign is intended to identify potential threats ahead of time. It is also important to note that this campaign is NOT intended to be a profiling or targeting opportunity. Sometimes when we see something that seems out of the ordinary or we see someone exhibit unusual behavior it can also be an opportunity to seek help, support or assistance for someone in need. The See Something, Say Something campaign is about not being afraid to get help for a situation.
The signs of suspicious behavior are very similar to signs of a potential mental health crisis. In either situation it is important to seek support and assistance.
Alert Campus Public Safety (CPS) if you see or hear anything that seems unusual or out of the ordinary.
Response Tips and Tactics
There are three standard tactics that can be employed in an active threat incident - Run, Hide, and Fight.
These tactics are taught and reinforced in training at the federal level, state level and all the way down to even the youngest of audiences in the K-12 school systems.
If there is a safe and accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises, Be sure to:
- Have at least two escape routes in mind and move away from where the threat seems to be coming from
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
- If others are willing to evacuate, offer assistance, if possible and safe to do so
- Leave your belongings behind
- Prevent others from entering the area that you are evacuating
- Keep your hands visible as you evacuate
- Follow the instructions of law enforcement
- Do not attempt to move wounded people
- Call 9-1-1 and CPS when safe to do so
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the threat is not likely to find you or see you.
- Your hiding place should:
- Be out of view of the threat
- Provide protection
- Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
- To prevent the threat from entering your hiding place:
- Close and lock doors
- Block the door with heavy furniture
- Remain quiet
- Silence your cellphone or other electronic devices
- Turn off any source of noise (e.g. radio, television, etc.)
- Silence your cellphone or other electronic devices
As a last resort, and ONLY when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the threat by:
- Acting as aggressively as possible against the threat
- Throwing items and improvising weapons
- Committing to your actions
- If you are not alone, work together as a team
There are several training videos available. Please view these at your own discretion. They can be triggering for some and may contain some graphic imagery and content.
FBI Run. Hide. Fight Training Video - Restaurant setting. WARNING: Loud noises, images of weapons. No real world incidents are shown, all persons are actors.
Ready Houston - Run. Hide. Fight. - Office setting. WARNING: Loud noises, images of weapons. No real world incidents are shown, all persons are actors.
Response Activities - What to expect during an incident
- How will I know there is a threat?
- If you hear loud noises or disturbances, especially anything that sounds like gunfire do not hesitate to act. Do not put yourself in danger by trying to figure out what is going on or by moving towards to perceived threat in order to verify the danger.
- Once university personnel, typically CPS, are alerted they will coordinate the sending of a Boxer Alert message.
- If you receive an alert act quickly and swiftly and let others in your area know that an alert has been issued. This will ensure that those who do not have their phone turned on or on their person will be aware of the threat.
- The university is working on additional communication and alerting options but in the interim make sure you are signed up to alerts and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Where do I go?
- When you evacuate a location, move to a safe area, putting other structures/buildings between you and the threat location.
- It is not advisable to assemble in a marked assembly area that is used for fire evacuations unless those areas are far away from the threat. These known assembly areas may be secondary targets, especially if there are multiple threats.
- Once first responders and law enforcement arrive they may direct you to a specific, more secure location. Allows follow their instructions.
- First responder arrival
- First responders may arrive quickly, within a few minutes of being notified of the threat. However, varying circumstances may delay their arrival so it is important to practice and remember the response tactics above: Run, Hide, and Fight.
- Once responders arrive they will move purposefully and with specific intent as they move through the area/building. It may seem like they are moving slow but it is for your safety and theirs. Until they know where the threat is they must proceed with caution.
- As you come into contact with responders do not make any quick or sudden moves, keep your hands visible and be ready to share information and answer questions.
Active Shooter Preparedness - FEMA One-Pager
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Active Shooter Resources
FBI - Guia de Referencia Rapida - Evento Tirador Activo
FBI - Active Shooter Quick Reference Guide - Spanish
DHS - Como Responder - Cuando Una Persona Armada Se Encuentra En Su Vecindario
DHS - Active Shooter Poster - Spanish
Free online FEMA courses:
IS-904 Active Shooter Prevention: You Can Make a Difference
IS-907 Active Shooter: What Can You Do
Additional resources and information:
FBI Active Shooter Incidents 2000-2018, Topical One-Pager
Support and Assistance
Department of Public Safety
Student Counseling Center