Campus Safety: How to Respond to an Active Shooter

The Humboldt State University Police Department’s Emergency Management Program has released guidelines on how to prepare for and respond to an active shooter. Although active shooter situations are rare and law prohibits the carrying of guns and weapons on campus, it is important that faculty, students and staff to be ready for any kind of emergency.

“One of the most effective ways to respond to potential active shooter situations is to prevent it from happening,” says HSU Police Chief Lynne Soderberg. “While this may not always be possible, it is important to foster a community where we treat everyone with respect and dignity; strive to identify people who may be troubled, and provide them with appropriate resources.”

Since most active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, preparedness is the key to protecting yourself and others, says Emergency Management Coordinator Jan Marnell. With the proper mindset and the necessary tools, you will be better equipped to react with purpose and maximize your chance for survival.

What you can do before

The best way to protect your life in an active shooter situation is to quickly determine the most reasonable course of action, Marnell says. That may be getting away from the area of shots, hiding out, or attempting to take out the shooter.

1. Get out (Escape). If there is an escape route, evacuate the area, Marnell says.

2. Hide out (Barricade). If escape is not possible, hide in a room where the active shooter is less likely to find you, Marnell says.

3. Take out (Defend). If you are trapped by a shooter entering your hiding place, you may decide to defend yourself and take out the shooter. This is a choice that only you can make, but it may be the only way to survive, says Marnell.

4. Respond to police. Since police have no way of knowing who you are in an active shooter situation, remain calm and follow instuctions, Marnell says.

In the event of a campus emergency, three methods may be used to alert the University:

Once the University is alerted to an emergency and you have ensured your own safety, the best resources for additional information are:

Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: (707) 826-5555