What to do in an Active Shooter Situation


In recent weeks, Public Safety’s Chief Batista has been conducting training sessions on the Salem College Active Shooter Response Plan. Areas like Salem’s campus are known as “soft targets,” which are places that have low security and thus are particularly vulnerable to attack. It is important to know what to do if something does occur in our community. If you have been unable to attend these sessions, here is an overview of the information you should keep in mind.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an “active shooter” is defined as a person who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area using a firearm. The Department of Homeland Security shares that there are three primary responses that you can exercise in an active shooter situation; run, hide or fight.

Make sure to always have your exit route in mind. Run only if it is safe to do so. Leave all belongings behind, keep your hands visible and prevent others from entering the area. Help others escape if possible, but do not attempt to move the wounded. Call 911 when you have reached a safe location. If it is unsafe to run, then your next option is to hide. Find a place outside of the shooter’s view. If possible, lock or barricade the door, turn off all lights, close blinds and silence your cell phone. As an absolute last resort, it may be necessary to physically engage the intruder. You should only fight if your life is in immediate danger. You should be aggressive in your attempt to incapacitate the intruder – do not hesitate! Try to improvise weapons with chairs, desks, fire extinguishers, etc.

When officers arrive, the first responders will not stop to help the wounded. Their first priority will be clearing the location and apprehending the shooter. Medical help will arrive once the area is safe. When you see law enforcement, keep your hands visible at all times and follow their instructions. Do not scream or yell to get their attention, and try to avoid sudden movements toward the officers. Answer any questions you may be asked once you are in a safe location, and do not leave until you are instructed by law enforcement to do so.

You can opt-in to the Public Safety emergency notification system on Salem College’s website. Calls and texts are sent out through the system in the event of an emergency, and the outdoor speaker system will also be used to notify the campus.

Always remember – Run, Hide, Fight! Keeping these things in mind could save your life.

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