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This video contains violent content to educate and prepare someone to deal with an active aggressor. Viewer discretion is advised.

While much has been focused on shooting incidents, threats to your physical safety come in many forms. It is an unfortunate reality that we must even consider the possibility. Individuals may be armed with firearms, knives, or personal weapons. Other individuals may verbally threaten violence or be in a mental health crisis. The term "Active Threat" describes the threat as immediate and ongoing. These situations evolve quickly and require immediate action on your part.

Pre-planning for such an incident will be your best chance to survive an active threat/shooter incident. Know your escape routes, how you will respond, and prepare to fight the attacker as a last resort. Education and training cannot cover every possible situation, but it is a tool that can help reduce the number of injuries and deaths if put into action as soon as a situation develops. Preparing early, so you react quickly is the most important factor in the optimal management of these types of scenarios.

The UMass Dartmouth Police Department is an accredited police department in compliance with Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) standards for policies, including best practices related to a wide array of campus emergencies, such as active shooter incidents. The Department works closely with the local, state, and federal agencies to ensure support and quick response to any campus emergency situations.

In addition to reading the procedures below, you are encouraged to watch the video above that presents information on how to respond to an active shooter situation. 

Run, Hide, Fight!

In some emergency situations, you may have time to stop, deliberate, and decide on the next course of action. In stressful situations that pose a risk to your safety, you may not have the time to think. The ability to react and take decisive action may affect whether you emerge from the situation safely. Your chances of making quick and effective decisions will greatly increase if you have thought about your options and are prepared to act before an incident occurs. Below are some options and bullet points to help you plan and prepare for a possible emergency.

Run/Avoid - Can you escape safely?

  • Learn your exits beforehand. Learning where they are and where they will put you a step ahead if you need to escape. View our Emergency Procedures and Assembly Points Maps website to review.
  • Where will you go once you escape? Distance and cover are your friends. Get as far away as possible, and put objects between you and the incident.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Remember, windows can be good escape options. Do they open? Can you break them?
  • Help others escape, but consider if helping others will put you in harm's way.
  • Alert authorities of the situation as soon as you can do so safely.

Hide/Deny - If you can't get out safely! A little pre-planning in this area will go a long way.

  • Can you lock the doors?
  • If the doors don't lock, is there a place nearby where you can lock the doors?
  • Which way does the door open?
  • Barricade the doors. Belt the closer, tie the crash bars, and push objects in front of the door.
  • Turn off the lights, pull the shades, silence your phone, and move out of sight from the windows. Out of sight, Out of Mind!
  • Remain hidden or barricaded until police arrive or "UMassD Alert" (Formerly known as MyAlert) notifies you that the situation is over and "all clear."
  • Alert authorities of the situation as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Be physically aggressive.
  • Use improvised weapons.
  • Fight with all-out commitment.
  • Fight to incapacitate the threat.
  • Alert authorities of the situation as soon as you can do so safely.
  • 911 is the easiest number to remember, but 911 does not necessarily connect you to your local police department when dialed from a cell phone.
  • We recommend you keep your local Police Department's phone number in your cell phone. The UMass Dartmouth Police Department's emergency number is 508-999-9191. A 911 call will go directly to the Massachusetts State Police, not the university police. There are also emergency blue light phones on campus that go directly to the UMass Dartmouth Police Department.
  • Be prepared to give your (Location/address). If you don't know the address start with "I'm on the UMass Dartmouth Campus, then provide a specific location..."
  • Be ready to describe the suspect's physical location and the type of weapon used.
  • Are there potential victims, how many, extent of injuries?
  • Remain calm, follow instructions, show your hands, and don't present yourself as a potential threat to responding officers.

Campus Alerts

  • Everyone should sign up for UMassD Alert. You should sign up for text alerts as they will be the timeliest.
  • In most situations, you should follow the advice contained within the alerts.
  • Sometimes your location, and the circumstances surrounding the incident, will warrant you to take an action other than what is recommended in the alert. Remember that in situations like these...ultimately, it is your safety at stake, do what is necessary to keep yourself safe.
  • Regardless of your choice of action in the emergency, continue making sound decisions based on your situation until you receive the" All Clear" message.

Prevention

We spend a lot of time discussing what to do once the incident occurs. The best resolution to these situations is to try to prevent them from happening. In most Active Threat circumstances, there are pre-incident indicators. In most situations, a single indicator does not mean much, but when multiple indicators are present.

We should be taking notice of things like:

  • Family problems
  • Marital problems
  • Workplace grievances
  • The recent death of loved ones
  • Serious medical prognosis for themselves or loved ones
  • Mental health problems
  • Infatuation with violence/weapons
  • A lack of remorse for actions
  • Talks about committing violence
  • The feeling that no one cares

If you know someone experiencing some of these indicators or exhibiting behavior that is out of the ordinary, be prepared to act. There are things that you can do to help someone out before they reach a level of desperation and loss of hope that could ultimately lead to an act of violence. Actions you can take vary from asking them if they are alright, to notifying a supervisor or Human Resources that you've recognized a problem, or notifying the police that you think violence may be imminent.