Active Threat Guidelines

Although encountering an active threat on campus remains remote, we encourage members of the campus community to review these guidelines in the event of an emergency. An active threat refers to any incident which creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to the campus community such as a shooter or a hostage situation. Taking the time now to review these guidelines increases your ability to respond in the event of an emergency.

If you can evacuate the building …

  1. Try to stay calm and determine the location of the threat.
  2. Call 911 as soon as possible, although escaping is your priority.
  3. If a safe exit does exist, take it as quickly as possible.
  4. Continue running until you are well cleared from the location of the threat. Find a safe location and call 911 to tell the police of your location.

If the only exit is through a window, consider the consequences of the fall:

  • How high are you from the ground?
  • Can you land in shrubs or grass to decrease the potential for serious injury?
  • Can you make an improvised rope out of clothing, belts or other items?

If you cannot evacuate the building…

  1. Try to stay calm and determine the location of the threat.
  2. Take shelter in the nearest office, classroom, closet or other area which can be secured. Barricade the door using desks, bookshelves, or other heavy objects. If the door opens outward, attach one end of a belt to the door handle and the other end to a heavy object.
  3. If the door has a window, cover it.
  4. Look for other possible escape routes, such as windows, other doors.
  5. Call 911 and tell them what is happening. Speak quietly and then set your cell phone to vibrate or silent.
  6. Stay low to the ground and remain as quiet as possible.
  7. Once in a secure location, do not open the door for anyone. Do not approach police officers as they attempt to locate and neutralize the threat. The police officers will return to assist you once the threat has been neutralized.
  8. When University Police arrive, obey all commands. You may be asked to keep your hands in the air, you may even be handcuffed until the police assess the situation. These steps are taken for safety reasons.

If an active threat is in your presence…

If you are in a crowded room and the threat is shooting, “play dead” or quietly crawl to safety. If you are with a group, as an action of last resort, you might choose to take the offensive:

  1. If the shooter is entering the room, position yourself in a location that allows for an element of surprise.
  2. Throw anything available at the threat. Aim for the face to distract him/her.
  3. Attack as a group, swarming around the threat.
  4. Grab the threat’s arms, legs or head and take him/her to the ground. Use body weight to secure him/her.
  5. “Fight dirty” – kick, bite, gouge eyes.
  6. Have somebody in the group call 911.
  7. When University Police arrive, obey all commands. You may be asked to keep your hands in the air, you may even be handcuffed until the police assess the situation. These steps are taken for safety reasons.

If you have incapacitated the threat…

  1. Make sure the suspect is secured (body weight, belts, etc.)
  2. Move any weapons away from the threat.
  3. Do not hold a weapon.
  4. Call 911 and advise law enforcement that the threat/shooter is down.
  5. Provide your location and stay on the line if possible.
  6. When University Police arrive, obey all commands. You may be asked to keep your hands in the air, you may even be handcuffed until the police assess the situation. These steps are taken for safety reasons.

If you are interested in training on this topic for your office or group, contact Deputy Chief Ian Cyr of the UMPD at (413) 545-2121 or email him at ipc@admin.umass.edu.

CONTACT

UMPD
585 East Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9600

umpd@admin.umass.edu
413-545-2121 non-emergency
413-545-3111 emergency or 911
413-545-3113 fax

Tips

Call 413-577-TIPS (8477) or use our Anonymous Witness Form.