Active Shooter Response

Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to review the following video, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As part of Fitchburg State University's emergency preparedness efforts, we have adopted many of the recommendations from the DHS model.

How to Respond When an Active Shooter is in your Vicinity

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that people are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

1. Run

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

2. Hide

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

3. Fight

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

Training for your Group

The Fitchburg State University Police Department delivers presentations on a range of public safety topics. Our staff may serve as guest lecturers in classrooms, attend student events and participate in forums designed to provide training on particular topics for students, staff, and faculty.

If you would like to schedule an active shooter/hostile event presentation for your group, please contact Nicole Arcangeli at

Important Contact Information

Emergency 911
Fitchburg State University Police Department 978.665.3111
Fitchburg Police Department 978.345.4355
Massachusetts State Police (Leominster) 978.537.2188
Counseling Services 978.665.3152

Additional Resources

Emergency Notifications: Safety Alert

Upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of students or employees occurring on campus, the Fitchburg State University Police Department will immediately notify the university community using a systemized emergency communications procedure (RAVE Alert Mass Notification System).

The University has developed an integrated and comprehensive procedure which includes all of the following emergency alert systems: cell phone text messages, emails, voicemails, outdoor mass notification system announcements using a siren voice alert system, indoor notification monitors, blue telephones, social networking sites, face to face communications and website notifications.

The Fitchburg State University Police will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless the notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

All members of the Fitchburg State University Community can sign up for RAVE online.

Please note, SMS TEXT message and data rates may apply. Text messages are sent on an as-needed basis. This service is provided per the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Text STOP to 67283 to cancel or HELP for tech support.