Workplace Safety | Lesson 9 / 15

Know Your Response to an Active Shooter

5 min

In an active shooter situation, your options are simple:
run, hide, or fight.

1. Run

This is by far your best option — and should be your first response. Know your closest exits, and follow your company’s evacuation plan. In the event of an evacuation, call the police only once you are safely outside. And, when the police arrive, don’t run toward them — stay in place and keep your hands above your head to show you don’t have a weapon.

2. Hide

In some cases, escape just isn’t an option. So take the time now to identify a “safe zone”: a lockable room without glass doors or windows where you can hide. If you hide, turn off the lights and barricade the entrance with heavy furniture to prevent the shooter from entering.

3. Fight

If you can’t escape, and you don’t have time to hide, then pick up whatever is nearby — chairs, books, a fire extinguisher— and throw it at the assailant. Still, don’t fight unless it’s your absolute last option: you don’t want to have to confront a gun with a book or a pair of scissors.

Active shooters are a reality that you can't predict or control. But you can control how well you prepare. 

Time for a quiz.

In your company’s active shooter drills, your colleague Ciara identified a safe zone under her desk, and says she would feel most comfortable going there to hide instead of risking an escape. What can you tell her?

Quiz 1 of 1

What can you tell Ciara about her go-to safe zone?

Even if she has a safe zone, she’ll always be safest if she can escape by getting out of the building.
Safe zones should be sought only as a last resort, after running and fighting.
It’s great that she’s proactively identified her safe zone for her first response.
She should try to protect her coworkers by guiding them to her safe zone as well.

The correct answer is A.

It's great that Ciara identified a safe zone, but she should only go there if she absolutely cannot safely exit the building.

Responding to an active shooter shouldn't be a free-for-all.

Set a plan with your company, and practice your response. 


Does your company have active shooter drills? If not, ask your employer to help set a plan for employees to identify safe zones and practice evacuating.

Lesson complete

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