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Active Shooter Incidents

Events of the past years have called attention to the need to be prepared for a wide range of emergencies. The tragedies at Virginia Tech and DeKalb have caused campuses across the country to reassess their level of preparedness. Our police department has for many years conducted training for our officers on responding to an active shooting incident. We continue extensive on-going training for a response to these types of incidents.

The awareness and preparedness of members of our community is equally important. We present this information for your use and distribution.

If you witness any armed individual on campus at any time, immediately contact the Police Department via 9-1-1.

In the event of an active shooter incident, please consider taking the following actions:

Contact Authorities:

  • Use emergency 9-1-1 system (only one person per room)
  • Be aware that the 9-1-1 system will likely be overwhelmed.

Flee the building if safe to do so:

  • If it is possible to flee the area safely and avoid danger, do so. Do not attempt to flee if the shooter is between you and the exit. If you are unsure, do not attempt to flee.
  • Once outside get far away from the shooting scene and contact the Police Department.
  • If you encounter Police Officers as you leave the building they may direct you to one collection point. Keep your hands visible (on your head or showing open in front of you).
  • Do not pull the fire alarm, it will provide the shooter with more opportunities to cause harm.
  • Contact the police via 9-1-1.

If you are unable to flee the building secure your immediate area or move to a safe area if possible:

  • Turn off all the lights and close blinds, lock all windows and doors.
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors.
  • Silence all cell phones.
  • If you can do so safely, get everyone on the floor and out of the line of fire.
  • Keep everyone calm, quiet and out of sight.
  • Take adequate cover/protection (i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets).
  • Place signs on exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons.
  • Stay in your secure location of the building until an “all clear” instruction is given by an authorized or known voice.
  • If the staff or students do not recognize the voice that is giving instruction, they should not change their status. Unknown or unfamiliar voices may be false and designed to give false assurances.

If the shooter enters your class or office:

  • There is no one procedure that can be recommended in this situation.
  • Attempt to get the word out to other staff if possible, and call 911 if that seems practical.
  • Use common sense. If hiding or flight is impossible, remain quiet. Attempting to negotiate with the individual may be very dangerous.
  • Attempting to overcome the individual with force is a last resort that should only be initiated in the most extreme circumstances.
  • Remember, there may be more than one active shooter.
  • Be careful not to make any changes to the scene of the incident since law enforcement authorities will investigate the area later.

What to Report:

  • Your specific location: building name, floor and office or room number.
  • Number of people at your specific location.
  • Injuries: number injured and types of injuries.
  • Assailant(s):
    o Location
    o Number of suspects
    o Race/gender
    o Clothing description
    o Physical features (height, weight, facial hair, glasses, etc.)
    o Type of weapons (long gun or hand gun)
    o Backpack
    o Shooter’s identity, if known
    o Do you hear explosions separate from gunfire?

Police Response:

  • The Police objective is to immediately isolate/engage assailant(s) to stop the shooting as soon as possible.
  • Remain calm; do as the officers tell you.
  • Put down bags/packages and keep your hands visible at all times.
  • If you know where the shooter is, tell the officers.
  • The first officers will not stop to aid injured persons.
  • Rescue teams will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.
  • Investigation will follow.

University of South Florida Police Department
Division of Public Safety

4202 E Fowler Ave UPB002
Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: 813-974-2628
Fax: 813-974-5616
In an emergency call 911

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