Active Shooter Situations
Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services technicians (first
responders) who come to a school because of a 911 call involving gunfire face a
daunting task. Though the objective remains the same – protect students and staff
– the threat of an“active shooter” incident is different than responding
to a natural disaster or many other emergencies.
Emergency calls can involve actual or future threats of physical violence. This
violence might be directed not only in or at the school building, students, staff,
and campus but also at nearby buildings on or off school grounds.
“Active shooter situations” are defined10 as those where an individual
is “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated
area.”11 Unfortunately, schools face active shooter situations
The better first responders and school personnel are able to discern these threats
and react swiftly, the more lives can be saved. This is particularly true in an
active shooter situation at a school where law enforcement responds to a
911 call of shots fired. Many young and innocent lives are at risk in such a concentrated
space. This is why it is critical that schools work with first responders, emergency
management staff, and all community partners to identify, prepare, prevent, and
effectively respond to an active shooter situation in a coordinated fashion.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Because of
this, individuals must be prepared to deal with an active shooter situation
before law enforcement officer arrive on the scene.