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University Police Department

University Police Department

Active Shooter/Safety Guidelines


An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area; in most cases, an active shooter will use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

 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. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.  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.  It is important for individuals to prepare both mentally and physically to deal with active shooter situations through training and education.



Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that students and visitors are likely to follow the lead of faculty and staff during emergency situations

  • Call 9-1-1
    • When calling 9-1-1, state that you are calling from Florida Gulf Coast University, the building name, room number and reason for the call.
    • 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.
    • If you are outside, look for buildings, brick walls, vehicles or solid structures that will provide protection from bullets


 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 whether others agree to follow or not
  •  Leave your belongings behind
  •  Follow the instructions of any police officers

 Hide Out

 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)

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
  • Hide behind large items (furniture, cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

Take action against the active shooter

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


Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.

  • The first responding officers will normally be in teams of four (4)
  • They may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment.
  • The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns, and might be using pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.  
  • Remain calm and follow officer’s instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Exit in the direction the officers are entering the premises

The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.

Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.


Active Shooter/Safety Downloads

Active Shooter Pocket Card
Active Shooter Pocket Card Spanish
Active Shooter How To Respond
Emergency Safety Guidelines