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This document provides guidance to faculty, staff and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation. Responding to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. An active shooter is a person(s) actively engaged in or attempting to kill or injure individuals, usually in populated areas, using a firearm or other explosive device(s). Active shooter situations can arise unexpectedly and evolve rapidly. Immediate response is needed from the community and law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent further harm.

For additional information on active shooter guidelines, refer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security "Active Shooter How to Respond" guide.


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

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter.
  • Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded.
  • Lock and barricade the door and windows, using whatever is available: desks, tables, file cabinets, etc.
  • Keep yourself out of sight, stay away from windows and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets.
  • Turn off lights.
  • Turn off radios, computer monitors or other devices that emit sound.
  • Silence cell phones.
  • Have one person call 911 and provide:

‘This is the University of Holy Cross (give your location), we have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired.’ If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person(s) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last observed, direction of travel, and identify if known.

If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.

  • Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer, or University official known to you, provides an ‘all clear.’ Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter attempting 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.
  • 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:
  • Try to remain calm.
  • Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter.
  • 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).
  • Call 911, if possible, and provide the information listed in the first guideline.
  • 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:
  • Try to remain calm.
  • Move away from the active shooter or the sounds of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s).
  • 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.
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter.
  • Call 911 and provide the information listed in the first guideline.

Call 911: Emergency situations should be reported to NOPD at (504) 821-2222 and Campus Police at (504) 329-4430. You may hear multiple rings-stay on the line until someone answers. Do not hang up.

911 Operator: 911 operators will notify law enforcement and other emergency service (EMS) agencies – fire and rescue. EMS will respond to the site, but will not be able to enter the area until it is secured by law enforcement. You may have to treat the injured as best as you can until the area is secure.

Remember basic first aid: For bleeding, apply pressure and elevate. Many items can be used for this purpose- e.g., clothing, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, newspapers, etc. Try to stay quiet and calm.

What to expect from responding police officers:
NOPD and Louisiana State Police:
  • You may be instructed to keep your hands on top of your head.
  • You may be searched.
  • You will be escorted out of the building by law enforcement personnel- follow their directions.
  • After evacuation you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc.
  • Once you have been evacuated you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until law enforcement releases the crime scene.