An Active Harmer is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a conﬁned and populated area. In most cases, active harmers use ﬁrearms(s) and there is often no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
Active harmer situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, an immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.
Because active harmer situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
- This type of event can happen here. Universities are inherently open environments, and are difficult to secure.
- Be knowledgeable of resources available for persons who appear to need psychological or emotional help.
- Is there someone you know who may be showing warning signs, such as unusual or erratic behavior?
- The Student of Concern team (SOCT) is a campus resource dedicated to assisting students who may be in distress or who may be experiencing challenging or difficult life circumstances. Please click here to learn more at the SOCT website.
- Counseling assistance for CU students is available at Counseling and Psychological Services. Please click here for more information.
- Active shooters have been suicidal. They believe they are going to die, and have nothing to lose by killing.
- Active shooting incidents create chaos. Expect a confusing environment. React with a simple plan that maximizes potential for safety.
- There may be more than one “right” answer in your response.
- Your initial response may need to be changed to another alternative.
- Have the mindset that this will happen here at some point.
- Know you will act and will survive.
If an active shooting incident occurs near you, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.
1. Get out
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the area. Be sure to:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
- Leave your belongings behind
- Help others escape, if possible
- Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
- Keep your hands visible
- Follow the instructions of any police ofﬁcers
- Do not attempt to move wounded people
- Call 911 when you are safe and provide the location of the shooting and a description of the shooter, if possible.
2. Hide out
If evacuation is not possible, ﬁnd a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to ﬁnd you. Your hiding place should:
- Be out of the active shooter’s view
- Provide protection if shots are ﬁred in your direction (i.e., an ofﬁce with a closed and locked door)
- Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
Once you get to your hiding place:
- Lock the door
- Turn out the lights
- Spread out in the room
- Blockade the door with heavy furniture
- Silence phones and stay quiet
If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:
- Remain calm
- Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
- If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen
3. Take action against the active shooter
You and classmates or friends may find yourselves in a situation where the shooter will accost you. If such an event occurs, quickly develop a plan to attack the shooter. Use items at your disposal for improvised weapons, throw items to distract the shooter, and consider a plan to tackle the shooter, take away his weapon, and hold him until police arrive.