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Active Shooter Situations: Preparing for an Active Shooter Situation


As with any threat or hazard that is included in an IHE’s EOP, the planning team will establish goals, objectives, and courses of action for an Active Shooter Annex. These plans will be impacted by the assessments conducted at the outset of the planning process and updated as ongoing assessments occur. As courses of action are developed, the planning team should consider a number of issues, including, but not limited to

The planning team may want to include functions in the Active Shooter annex that are also addressed in other functional annexes. For example, evacuation will be different during an active shooter situation than it would be for a fire.

Additional considerations are included in the “Responding to an Active Shooter” and “After an Active Shooter Situation” sections.

Sharing Information with First Responders

The planning process is not complete until the higher ed EOP is shared with first responders. The planning process must include preparing and making available to first responders an up-to-date and well-documented site assessment, as well as any other information that would assist them. These materials should include building schematics and photos of both the inside and outside of the buildings, and include information about door and window locations, and locks and access controls. Emergency responders should also have advance information on where students and staff with disabilities as well as others with access and functional needs are likely to be sheltering or escaping, generally in physically accessible locations, along accessible routes, or in specific classrooms. Building strong partnerships with law enforcement, fire, and EMS officials includes ensuring they also know the location of available public-address systems, two-way communications systems, security cameras, and alarm controls. Equally important is information on access to utility controls, medical supplies, and fire extinguishers.

Providing the detailed information listed above to first responders allows them to rapidly move through an IHE during an emergency, to ensure areas are safe, and to tend to people in need. It is critically important to share this information with law enforcement and other first responders before an emergency occurs. Law enforcement agencies have secure websites where this information is stored for many IHEs, businesses, public venues, and other locations. All of these can be provided to first responders and viewed in drills, exercises, and walk-throughs.

Technology and tools with the same information (e.g., a portable USB drive that is compatible with computers used by first responders) should be maintained in secured locations around campus from which IHE officials can immediately provide it to responding officials or from which first responders can directly access it. The locations of these materials at the IHE should be known by and accessible to a number of individuals to ensure ready access in an emergency. Every IHE should have more than one individual charged with meeting first responders to provide them with the IHE site assessment, the IHE EOP, and any other details about IHE safety and the facility.21All parties should know who these key contacts are.

20 See in the “A Closer Look: The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.”

21 See also