Be Prepared — Active Shooter: How to Respond


To: Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Interim Chief Bruce Holden
Active Shooter: How to Respond

In light of recent incidents that have occurred on several college campuses, UTHSC Police continue to take measures that ensure our campus is safe, and that our officers are well-prepared to respond to any situation. UTHSC Police and Security officers are frequent, active participants in training sessions for such scenarios as active shooter response and procedures. Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Dr. Kennard Brown has provided our team with another major tool that will serve to prepare us to handle this type of situation — a building that we will use as a training facility. We plan to conduct  more extensive and intense training for different emergency situations at this designated site. Training will be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that we are current on any new techniques and procedures. The list below presents practical steps on how to respond in an active shooter situation.

Please bear in mind that our faculty, staff and students are the most important resources we have to minimize the impact of an active shooter situation. Campus Police officers appreciate the help you’ve given us in identifying potential problems on our campus, through your phone calls, observations and reports of unusual activity. Thank you.

Active Shooter: How to Respond

  1. In the event that you hear shots, immediately go to a safe area and contact Campus Police.
  2. Give your location and any information pertaining to what you heard and/or saw, e.g., the shooter, a description of the shooter, and specifics on the area from which the shots came.
  3. While in route to a safe location, advise others of the situation.
  4. Keep calm as best as you can and remember not to run in the direction of the danger.
  5. If you feel that you have an escape route that is safe, use it with caution. Only use it if you know where the shooter is located and exit in the opposite direction of the shooter.
  6. Avoid exiting down long hallways if you’re not sure where the shooter is located.
  7. Once you’ve found a location to hide, remember to lock and barricade doors, secure windows if possible, turn lights off, and limit the noise inside of that room by turning sound down on cell phones.
  8. When an alert is sent out, please follow the  instructions that come with the alert. Be aware of alerts that may follow.
  9. If you find a safe route to exit a building, remember that police personnel will be at that location and always follow the commands given by police.
  10. When you’re approaching any police personnel, have your hands in a position where the officer can see that you’re not armed. Do not make any sudden hand gestures or threatening movements at the officer.
  11. Most importantly, do not confront the shooter. Only as a last resort should you consider engaging with an armed shooter.
  12. If confronted by the shooter do whatever you can to distract him or her. Throw any objects at him, chairs, backpacks, etc., that would affect his ability to use his weapon.
  13. Remember, if you are in an area with others and are confronted by the shooter, do not make yourself an easy target. Do not remain stationary because that makes you an easy target. If a decision is made to engage (last resort) the shooter, do it as a team.

14.   If the shooter is subdued, move the weapon or weapons away and out of reach of the shooter. Contact police and advise them on your location as quick as possible.