School Security | How to Respond to an Active Shooter

School security

Campus and school security usually cannot respond to an active shooter until 5 to 10 minutes after the incident has occurred. That’s why it’s not only important to increase security throughout or colleges, universities and schools nationwide but also to thoroughly educate students and staff how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Here is a guide put together from information on the FEMA and DHS active shooter response guides released to increase school security.


Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that students are likely to follow the lead of teachers or other faculty members if security guards or the police are not present during an active shooter situation.

1. 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 and leave your belongings behind. Help others escape if possible and prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be. Keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of any security guards or police officers. Do not attempt to move wounded people. Call 911 only when you are safe.


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 (an office with a closed and locked door) and not trap you or restrict your options for movement. To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place lock the door and blockade the door with heavy furniture. If the active shooter is nearby, lock the door and silence your cell phone. Turn off any source of noise (radios, televisions) in the room. Hide behind a large item and remain quiet. If evacuation and hiding out are not possible remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location. If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen


As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by throwing items and yelling.

Preventative measures are also extremely important at every college, university and school so an incident doesn’t occur in the first place. We cover most of them in a recent article on workplace security.