Skip to main content


An active assailant/armed intruder is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to use deadly physical force on other people in a confined and/or populated area.


Active assailant/armed intruder situations are unpredictable and dynamic and evolve quickly.  Given these incidents are often over within minutes, before law enforcement arrives, it is essential to be prepared mentally and physically to do whatever necessary to protect yourself.  Your actions during that time could be the difference of life and death.

Active Assailant/Armed Intruder Response for Students/General Population

Run, Hide, Fight/Defend

Note:  The following does not necessarily represent sequential actions to be taken.  Existing circumstances may yield one of these actions as the only viable option for an individual to protect him/herself.

  • Run – Exit the building as quickly and safely as possible, distancing yourself from the threat.
  • Hide – If you can’t safely evacuate your building or are unsure of the location of the threat, secure in a room, classroom or office, creating as many barriers between you and the threat.  If you are caught outside, seek shelter inside the nearest building, and secure in an interior space.  Additionally, take the following actions:
    • Secure doors
    • Turn off lights
    • Move into concealed areas of the room, away from doors and windows.
    • Remain calm and quiet
  • Fight/Defend – If there are no other options to safely escape, and you are confronted by the assailant/intruder, attempt to disrupt or and/or incapacitate the assailant/intruder using all available resources (acting aggressively, yelling, throwing items, improvising weapons).

What You Should Do

  • Make sure you have an escape route in mind.
  • Do not attempt to carry anything in your hands while fleeing; move quickly.
  • Keep your hands visible, and follow instructions given by any police officers you may encounter.
  • If you know where the shooter is located, tell the officers.
  • Do not try to move any injured people; leave them where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.

What You Should Expect

  • Responding police officers are trained to proceed immediately to the area where the shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
  • The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims. Rescue teams composed of additional officers will follow the first team into secured areas and remove injured persons.
  • The first officers on the scene will likely be from the University. Depending on the situation, they may be joined by officers from different agencies and dressed in different uniforms.  There may even be some officers in civilian clothes wearing an external bulletproof vest. Some officers may be wearing and/or armed with special tactical equipment. Do as the officers tell you and do not be afraid of them.

Active Assailant/Armed Intruder Response for Building Occupants (Faculty/Staff)

If an Armed Intruder Alert is Issued

  • Secure inside a classroom/office (ideally behind a locked door with limited glass exposure).
  • Close blinds and turn off the lights
  • Keep occupants low to the ground until the situation has ended.
  • Keep all occupants indoors and wait for the “All Clear” from Campus Police (through Alert Carolina) before resuming normal activity.

Use Good Judgment

  • The circumstances and environment at specific locations varies, so exercising independent judgement and discretion, in the interest of safety for you and those around you, remains an understood and necessary option.
  • There are possible risks associated with whatever decision you make during these situations.
  • Personal safety should be the first consideration of building occupants when taking actions to assist others during an active assailant situation.  Furthermore, building occupants are not required (and, during extremely volatile situations, not encouraged) to assist those seeking refuge in their building/office/classroom with gaining access.
  • If you choose to allow someone into your building/office/classroom, have them:
    • leave anything they are carrying outside
    • lift up their shirt, coat, and/or jacket until the waistline is visible and rotate 360 degrees to see if they are concealing a weapon.

More information