Active Threat

An active assailant is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly.

How you can prepare:

  • The USF Police Department and Emergency Management provide active threat training.
  • Have a plan and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • In an active threat situation remember to Run, Hide, or Fight.

Active Threat Training

Events of the past years have called attention to the need to be prepared for a wide range of emergencies. The tragedies at Virgina Tech, Aurora, and Sandyhook have caused campuses across the country to reassess their level of preparedness. Our police department has for many years conducted training for our officers on responding to an active threat incident. We continue extensive on-going training for a response to these types of incidents.

The awareness and preparedness of members of our community is equally important. We present this information for your use and distribution.

If you witness any armed individual on campus at any time, immediately contact the Police Department via 9-1-1. In the event of an active threat incident, please consider taking the following actions:

Contact Authorities:

  • Use emergency 9-1-1 system (only one person per room).
  • Be aware that the 9-1-1 system will likely be overwhelmed.

Flee the building if safe to do so:

  • If it is possible to flee the area safely and avoid danger, do so. Do not attempt to flee if the assailant is between you and the exit. If you are unsure, do not attempt to flee.
  • Once outside, get far away from the incident scene.
  • If you encounter Police Officers as you leave the building they may direct you to one collection point.
  • Keep your hands visible (on your head or showing open in front of you).
  • Do not pull the fire alarm: it will provide the assailant with more opportunities to cause harm.
  • Once you are safely out of harm's way, contact the police via 9-1-1 if you have information to provide about the situation.

If you are unable to flee the building, secure your immediate area or move to a safe area:

  • Turn off all the lights and close blinds, lock all windows and doors.
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors.
  • Silence all cell phones.
  • If you can do so safely, get everyone on the floor and out of the line of fire.
  • Keep everyone calm, quiet and out of sight.
  • Take adequate cover/protection (i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets).
  • Place signs on exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons.
  • Stay in your secure location of the building until an "all clear" instruction is given by a law enforcement official.
  • If you do not recognize the voice that is giving instruction or suspect it is not a member of law enforcement, you should remain in place. Unknown or unfamiliar voices may be false and designed to lure you out of hiding.

If the assailant enters your class or office:

  • There is no one procedure that can be recommended in this situation.
  • Attempt to get the word out to other staff if possible, and call 911 if that seems practical.
  • Attempting to overcome the individual with force is a last resort, but if it is your only option, you must fight with the goal of separating the weapon from the attacker.
  • Focus on these three goals to be successful when defending yourself against an attacker: 1) position yourself by the door the threat is entering, 2) grab the weapon when the threat enters the doorway, and 3) FIGHT.

What to Report:

  • Your specific location: building name, floor and office or room number.
  • Number of people at your specific location.
  • Injuries: number injured and types of injuries.
  • Assailant(s):
      • Location
      • Number of suspects
      • Race/gender
      • Clothing description
      • Physical features (height, weight, facial hair, glasses, etc.)
      • Type of weapons (long gun or hand gun, knife, etc)
      • Backpack
      • Shooter's identity, if known
      • Do you hear explosions separate from gunfire?

Police Response:

  • The Police objective is to immediately isolate/engage assailant(s) to stop the threat as soon as possible.
  • Remain calm; do as the officers tell you.
  • Put down bags/packages and keep your hands visible at all times.
  • If you know where the assailant is, tell the officers.
  • The first officers will not stop to aid injured persons.
  • Rescue teams will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.
  • Investigation will follow.