What to Expect
In the event of an active shooter situation, you may receive an alert to lockdown, which is a form of emergency barricade, specific to the situation.
What does it mean to lockdown?
When people are instructed to lockdown, it is in response to an active threat. During an active shooter emergency, for example, people are asked to barricade themselves in a room with no windows, if possible. If a room with no windows is not available in their building, people are asked to cover or stay away from any windows to avoid making themselves or others visible to any potential threat.
The idea of a lockdown is for people to remain properly secured and out of the line of vision of an active shooter until they are told the area is secure.
What is an active shooter?
An active shooter is someone who, for whatever reason, decides to go into a populated area and start shooting. Usually, the shooter is not shooting at anyone in particular. The shooter is usually deliberate about his or her action and is not panicking throughout the process, so it is important to remain in lockdown until your area is secure.
They don’t just stay in one place. If you’ve locked down, you’ve effectively kept the shooter out. Always remember the run, hide or fight rule for active shooters (see more information and video below).
What’s the distinction between lockdown and shelter in place?
Sheltering in place is in response to severe weather, and also a chemical, biological or radiological contamination that may have been released into the environment. When individuals are instructed to shelter-in-place, it means the individual or organization should select an interior room or rooms with few or no windows. Once a room has been chosen, people should seal windows, doors and ventilation systems using tape, plastic and weather stripping in an attempt to avoid a chemical disturbance or weather-related disturbance.
How to Respond
Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.
Individuals are most likely to follow the lead of an action-oriented person during an active shooter situation.
This video depicts a fictional representation of an active shooter scenario and includes very realistic imagery and content. Please be aware that watching this video could elicit personal feelings and reactions, which is a normal response to such content. Talley Center is available to the UMW community to provide support to those with any questions or concerns. It is important that as a community we support one another and respect everyone’s feelings and responses to such tragic events.
RUN or Evacuate:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Keep your hands visible.
- Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
- Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
FIGHT or Take Action:
- ONLY as a last resort and only when your life is in danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter.
- Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.
CALL 4444 or 911 ONLY WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO (University Police 4444 or 540-654-1025/ 911 Fredericksburg Police)
How to Respond when Law Enforcement Arrives on the Scene:
- Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions.
- Immediately raise hands and spread fingers.
- Keep hands visible at all times.
- Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
- Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling.
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
Information You Should Provide to Law Enforcement or the Emergency Operator
The following details are important to include:
- Location of the active shooter
- Number of shooters, if more than one
- Physical description of shooters
- Number and type of weapons held by the shooters
- Number of potential victims at the location
An active shooter may be a current or former employee or student. Alert the police department, the Talley Center for Counseling Services or the Dean of Student Life if an employee or student exhibits potentially violent behavior.
Indicators of Potentially Violent Behavior
Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:
- Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
- Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints
- Increased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses
- Increasing talk of problems at home
- Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes