run hide fight

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. Individuals may be armed with firearms, knives, or personal weapons. Other individuals may verbally threaten violence or be experiencing a mental health crisis. The term “Active Threat” is used to describe the threat as immediate and ongoing. These situations evolve very rapidly and may require immediate action on your part. Taking the time now to review these guidelines increases your ability to respond in an emergency.

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.

We encourage the UMass community to watch this video, which presents information on how to respond to an active shooter situation. More information, including a planning template is available after the video.

Note: The video contains violent content to educate and prepare someone to deal with an active aggressor.  Viewer discretion is advised.


UMass Amherst Active Threat Training Video

RUN, if you can evacuate the building and escape the area of threat

  • Try to stay calm and determine the location of the threat. If a safe exit does exist, take it as quickly as possible.
    • Evacuate even if others insist on staying.
  • Leave your belongings.
  • Continue running until you are well cleared from the location of the threat.
  • Call UMPD (413-545-2121) or 911 to report the incident and description/location of the threat.
  • Prevent others from entering the area, if possible and safe to do so.

HIDE, if you cannot evacuate the building:

  • 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 other end to a heavy object.
    • Turn off all lights and close blinds/curtains.
  • Look for other escape routes, such as windows, or other doors.
  • Call UMPD (413-545-2121) or 911 to report the incident and description/location of the threat.
    • Speak quietly and set your phone to silent.
  • Stay low to the ground but do not sit down; be prepared to move.
  • Gather items to use for self-defense.
  • Once in a secure location, do not open the door for anyone. Do not approach police officers as they attempt to locate the threat.

FIGHT, as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the threat by:

  • Using items around you as weapons to fight.
  • Attacking as a group, swarming the threat.
  • Using any and all means necessary to incapacitate the threat.
  • Commit to your actions as your life is at risk.
  • Remove the weapon from the threat’s reach and safely hide it. Avoid holding on to the weapon because law enforcement may perceive you to be a threat.
  • If possible, immobilize all limbs (arms, legs, head) until law enforcement arrives.

When law enforcement arrives, 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, please follow all instructions.

Download an Active Threat Plan Template to guide you in the development of your personal plan for responding to such an incident.