Workplace Preparedness



  • If you witness a workplace violence incident or if you encounter a person behaving in a manner that causes you to fear for your own or another's safety, you should immediately call 9-1-1, or have someone call for you. This includes:
    • Crimes in progress, violent incidents or specific threats of imminent violence
    • Suspicious activity
    • If an individual:
      • Makes threats of physical harm toward you, others, or him/herself
      • Has a weapon
  • Use a phone out of sight/hearing of the individual; law enforcement officers will respond and take appropriate action.
  • Do not attempt to intervene physically or deal with the situation yourself; law enforcement officers will take charge of any incident that can or does involve physical harm. Do not confront the suspect or block their exit. Do not take unnecessary chances.
  • If it is an ongoing situation (e.g., hostage, person with a weapon), employees should immediately evacuate the area of the incident; supervisors are responsible for accounting for their employees. Evacuate the building if instructed to do so by emergency response personnel and follow EMERGENCY EVACUATION procedures.
  • The area of the incident should be secured and left undisturbed; employees who witnessed the incident should be available to be interviewed by law enforcement officers.

Workplace Violence: Active Shooter

  • The Department of Homeland Security recommends the following guidelines: evacuate, hide out or take action against the active shooter (RUN, HIDE, FIGHT):
    Whenever possible RUN. Get away from the gunshots first then call 9-1-1 if no one else has called to report what is happening. DO NOT LINGER IN THE AREA; DO NOT GO TO THE ASSEMBLY AREA.
    If unable to evacuate and get out of the area then HIDE. Lock or barricade yourself to shelter-in-place in your current location, if possible, to prevent entry from the shooter. Silence your cell phone then call 9-1-1.
    If you cannot barricade yourself inside and the suspect comes in then work as a team with others, and make a plan to FIGHT the shooter(s). Do whatever you can to prevent the shooter from achieving the goal of shooting people.

Precautions and Guidance

  • If you are in a classroom, room or office:
    • STAY THERE, secure the door and turn off the lights. Remain silent. If sheltering in place, silence your cell phone. Call 911 if possible.
    • If the door has no lock and the door opens in, a heavy door wedge can be kept on hand and used, otherwise look for heavy furniture to barricade the door. If the door has a window, cover it.
    • Depending on the gunman's location, you may also exit through the windows. Have someone watch as you get as many students out through windows as calmly and as quietly as possible.
    • If the windows do not open, or you cannot break them, or you are not on a ground floor, get out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet.
    • If no police units are on scene, move well away from the incident and find safe cover positions (not the parking lots) and wait for the police to arrive.
    • When police officers arrive, while keeping your hands up and palms spread, do exactly what the police tell you to do.
  • If you are in a hallway or corridor:
    • Get in a room that is not already secured and secure it.
    • Unless you are very close to an exit, do not run through a long hall to get to one, as you may encounter the gunman or hostage taker.
  • If you are in a large room, gym, theater, or auditorium:
    • If the gunman is not present, move to and out the external exits and move toward any police unit. Drop all bags and keep your hands up and palms spread. Do what the police tell you to do.
  • If you are outdoors or in an open space:
    • Stay alert and look for appropriate cover locations. Hard cover, such as brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles, and any other object that may stop bullets, may be utilized as cover.
  • If you are trapped with the gunman:
    • Do not do anything to provoke him/her. If he/she is not shooting, do what he/she says and do not move suddenly.
    • If possible call 9-1-1 and talk with a police dispatcher. If you cannot speak, leave the phone line open so the police can hear what is going on.
    • If he/she is shooting, you need to make a choice: stay still and play dead, run for an exit while zigzagging, or attack the shooter.
  • What to expect from police:
    • Regardless of how officers appear, remain calm. Do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them. Put down any bags or packages that you are carrying and keep your hands visible at all times.
    • If you know where the shooter is, or know the shooter's description, tell the officers.
    • The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims. Rescue teams will follow shortly after the first responding officers enter the area. They will attend to the injured and remove everyone safely from the area.