UW Police

Active Shooter – Campus Emergency Procedures

These safety tips and guidelines are not all inclusive, but if understood, reviewed periodically and training on when feasible, these tips can increase your chances of surviving an active shooter.

To view videos on active shooter, please visit the Training Resources page on the SafeCampus Web site.

View the Run.Hide.Defend UW Active Shooter Video.

Active Shooter Defined

An armed suspect(s) who is discharging a firearm at civilians or law enforcement or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by suspect fire.

These situations require law enforcement to take immediate action to end the danger.

The information below provides a set of guidelines for active shooter incidents on campus. However, every incident varies, making it impossible to provide an absolute answer for every situation.

How to Respond in an Active Shooter Situation

In a classroom, residence hall or office

  • If you are in a classroom, residence hall room or office, STAY THERE. Secure the door.
  • If the door has no lock and the door opens in, a heavy door wedge should be kept on hand and driven in as hard as you can, or use heavy furniture to barricade the door.
  • If the door has a window, cover it if you can. Depending on the shooter’s location, consider exiting through windows. Have someone watch the door as you get as many out the windows (ground floor) as calmly and quietly as possible.
  • If the windows do not open or you cannot break them or you are not on a ground floor, get out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet. Silence cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • If no police units are on scene, move well away from the shooter and find safe cover positions and wait for the police to arrive.
  • When officers arrive on scene, you should attempt to move toward any law enforcement personnel or police vehicle when safe to do so while keeping your hands visible to police. Follow the directions of the police.
  • Do not leave the area entirely; you may have valuable information regarding the suspect or incident that responding police officers will need. Once in a safe place, stay there.

In hallways or corridors

  • If you are in a hallway, get to a nearby room and secure it. Unless you are close to an exit, do not attempt to run through a long hallway to get to an exit as you may encounter the shooter.

In large rooms or auditoriums

  • If in a gym, theater or auditorium and the shooter is not present, move out external exits and toward any law enforcement personnel or police vehicle keeping your hands visible to police. Do what the police tell you!

Trapped with the shooter

  • If you are trapped in a room with the shooter, do not do anything to provoke the shooter. If no shooting is occurring, do what the shooter says and do not move suddenly.
  • If the shooter starts shooting, take decisive action: (1) freeze: stay still and hope they do not shoot you, (2) flee: run for an exit while zigzagging (if appropriate), or (3) fight: attack the shooter. Attacking the shooter is very dangerous, but may be less dangerous than doing nothing in some cases. A moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one, and the last thing the shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person. Any option (freezing, fleeing or fighting) may result in a bad outcome.

Open Spaces

  • Stay alert and look for cover, such as brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles or any other object that may stop gunfire rounds from penetrating.from penetrating.

Always notify the police department as soon as it is safe to do so.

Call 911 or UWPD’s 24-Hour Non-Emergency number 206.685.8973 (UWPD)