Just Another Day: How to Survive an Active Shooter Event on Campus

Just Another Day: How to Survive an Active Shooter Event on Campus

October 21, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


It’s just another day at Towson University. Where the University Police Department and the Office of Public Safety work hard to promote a safe and secure environment for the university students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus community. Although it is statistically unlikely you will ever encounter such a situation it is possible that someone may come onto campus with the intention of harming others. It could happen with little to no warning at any time at any location. “So let’s break it down.” “As to do with anything in monetary policy…” “…it’s all about winners and losers when consumers…” It is the responsibility of everyone to remain vigilant and know the steps to take for keeping themselves and others safe. For if the unthinkable were to happen and an active shooter event were to occur on campus it would begin like just another day. Should you ever find yourself in an active shooter event it is important that you have a plan in place. “Ken, can I see that file you’ve been working on?” It doesn’t have to be complicated but you must act quickly and decisively. “It looks great!” What you do in those first moments may be the difference between life and death. The Towson University Police Department wants you to learn and memorize these three key actions you must take should that day ever come. AVOID DENY DEFEND Your survival and the survival of others may depend on it. [gun loading] Remember these words. AVOID DENY DEFEND [gunshot] If you hear what sounds like gunshots, [gunshot] don’t hesitate or wait for others to act. “…and the stimulating…” [gunshot] “…effects of monetary policy are no longer…” [gunshot] [gunshot] Get ready to take action and protect yourself. [gunshots] Towson University Police, Operator 426. What’s the location of your emergency? “I’m in the CLA Building and someone with a gun started shooting. People are hurt. We need help!” “TU 30 to back. TU 10 for your information.” “Respond to the Liberal Arts Building.” “That’s the Liberal Arts Building for a report of an active shooter.” “Caller states that a white male dressed in all black…” “…armed with a long rifle is firing shots in the building.” “In route.” When an active shooter is reported on campus emergency personnel will immediately spring into action. Text messages are sent to all registered devices alerting students and staff to the danger on campus. “This is really happening.” Additional alert systems will also broadcast or display warnings across the campus and online on the university’s website. [mobile phone vibrating] [gunshots] AVOID If you can safely find an exit [gunshot] leave the area as quickly as possible to avoid danger. [gunshot] Encourage others to leave with you. “Come with me.” “Come on.” “Don’t be afraid.” [gunshot] [gunshot] Don’t hesitate. “Let’s go. Get to the exit.” “‘Ok. Ok. Wait, wait my phone.” “Go now just leave it!” Leave all belongings behind. Your first priority should be your safety. Only once you are safely outside the building and away from danger call campus police at 410-704-4444. “LA building.” “The shooter’s inside.” “He’s wearing all black.” “Black shirt, black pants, black jacket.” Answer all questions and try your best to provide the location and description of the shooter. Prevent others from entering the danger area. “We have to go. We just have to go. Come on!” [gunshots] DENY “Everyone remain calm.” If you’re unable to safely exit the area you must find a safe place to take shelter and deny access to the shooter. “Someone call the police.” [gunshots] “Should we run?” “No no no it’s not safe out there.” “We need to blockade the door now.” “Yes. Quickly everyone get those tables and put them in front of the door.” “Pile all the chairs on top.” “Everything heavy has to go in front of the door.” Act quickly and quietly. Block and secure all doors. If you are able to barricade the door with heavy furniture and other items. Turn off all lights and stay away from doors and windows to avoid being seen. “Be absolutely silent.” “Nobody move.” “And stay away from the door.” Do your best to remain calm and quiet. Your instinct may be to hide but be prepared to fight back should the shooter gain entry to the room. [mobile phone vibrating] Remember to silence your cell phone and other mobile devices. When an active shooter is reported on campus emergency personnel will immediately spring into action. They have only one primary goal in this moment, to locate and take down the shooter. DEFEND If you are unable to avoid the threat or deny the shooter access. Then your last resort must be to defend yourself. “He’s coming.” Be decisive and commit yourself to fighting back. “We have to fight back!” Your very survival may depend on it. “So grab anything that you can…” “…and give him all that you’ve got.” “Alright, let’s do this!” Improvise weapons from what is available around you. Your goal is to disarm and take down the shooter at all costs. “Locked.” “Door on the left open.” “Go, go, go.” “Clear, coming out.” Taking advantage of your strength in numbers and using the element of surprise gives you the best chance at survival. “Hallway clear.” It’s important to know that when the first responders arrive on the scene their priority is to stop the shooter. “How many is it?” “Where’d he go?” “Where’d he go?” “He went that way.” They are not there to treat the injured or assist with evacuation until the threat has been neutralized. “Gun, suspect found.” “Hands up!” “Everybody hands up!” “Keep you hands where we can see them!” “We got him!” Follow their instructions and keep your hands visible at all times. “Don’t move” “Don’t you move” “You hear me?” “Do you hear me?” “Don’t move.” “Stay there.” “Better not move.” “Get up.” Only once the building is secure will paramedics and other emergency personnel evacuate the building and treat the wounded. “We’re going to take good care of you and we’re get you out of here, ok?” “Keep breathing. You’re doing good.” Know that help is on the way. Your actions can make a difference. Your safety and the safety of others may depend on it. You must remain vigilant and prepared to act if you ever find yourself in an active shooter event. Know your surroundings. Have a plan in place. And remember the three key steps in order to survive. AVOID DENY DEFEND [police sirens] This message brought to you by Towson University and the Department of Electronic Media and Film.