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Active Shooter Information

Binghamton University Safety Guidelines for Active Shooter Situations on Campus


An active shooter is a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas on campus. In most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases active shooters use improvised explosive devices to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders. These improvised explosive devices may detonate immediately, have delayed detonation fuses, or may detonate on contact. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response by the community and immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent harm to the community. This document provides guidance to faculty, staff, and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and describes what to expect from responding law enforcement officers. Be aware that the 911 system may become overwhelmed.


In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and CALL 911 as soon as possible.

If an active shooter is outside your building or inside the building you are in, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  3. Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded
  4. Lock and barricade doors or windows
  5. Turn off lights
  6. Close blinds
  7. Block windows
  8. Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound
  9. Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets
  10. Silence cell phones
  11. Have one person CALL 911 and provide the following information:
    • “This is _____________, (state your name) I am located at _______________, (give your location) we have an active shooter, gunshots fired.”
    • If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the persons(s) sex, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen, direction of travel, and identity – if known.
    • If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.
    • If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location seen and a description.
    • If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.
  12. Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer, or a university official known to you, provides an “all clear”.
  13. Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety; do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer or university official.
  14. Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area.
  15. Depending on circumstances, consideration may also be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter
  3. If there is no possibility of escape or hiding, only as a last resort when it is imminent that your life is in danger should you make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s)
  4. If the decision is to overpower the assailant(s), a multiple person attack has a better chance of success than a single person attack.
  5. Once the decision has been made, throw everything at hand at the assailant(s) – books, pens, chairs etc. – while engaged in the attack.
  6. Call 911, if possible, and provide the information listed in the previous guideline
  7. If the active shooter(s) leaves the area, barricade the room, or proceed to a safer location

If you are in an outside area and encounter an active shooter, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Move away from the active shooter or the sounds of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s)
  3. Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection, i.e. brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop bullet penetration
  4. Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  5. CALL 911 and provide the information listed in the first guideline

What to expect from responding police officers

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  1. Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life threatening behavior
  2. Identify threats such as improvised explosive devices
  3. Identifying victims to facilitate medical care, interviews and counseling
  4. Investigation

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams; they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns. Do exactly as the officers instruct. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured.

View the active shooter awareness video that demonstrates ways to respond in an active shooter situation. Campus departments and organizations can schedule an active shooter training where they can learn some tools, tips and tricks to utilize in the unforeseen event there is an active shooter situation on campus. This is very valuable information that can save not only your life, but also those of friends, family, neighbors and the people sitting next to you in class or at work. To schedule a training, contact University Police at 607-777-2393 or

Last Updated: 1/3/19