Active Shooter Emergency Procedures

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. 

Active shooter situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly, and typically require law enforcement to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. 

Being prepared for emergencies and understanding your skills and limitations will help you to respond in the best possible manner.

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
  • Call 704.330.6911 when it is safe to do so.

The following three options are recommended — in order — for the best possible outcome.


  • Have an escape route and plan in mind. 
  • Move away from the threat as quickly as possible, regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Create as much distance between you and the threat as possible.
  • Call 704.330.6911 when it is safe to do so.


If you can’t safely get out of the building:

  • Lock the door.
  • Barricade the door with heavy furniture (e.g., desks, chairs, tables), and stay out of the shooter's view.
  • Once safely barricaded, turn off the lights. Remain calm and quiet, and silence all sources of noise (e.g., phones, computers, TV).
  • Be prepared to Shelter in Place for several hours. It could take the police time before they can get to you and escort you out of the building.
  • Call 704.330.6911 when it is safe to do so.


  • Be prepared to act as aggressively as possible to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter to save your life and the lives of those around you.
  • Distract the shooter and try to control the weapon. 
  • Use anything you can as a weapon and fight back. 
  • Call 704.330.6911 when it is safe to do so.

Information to Provide to the Dispatcher 

  • location of the active shooter
  • If possible, provide: 
    • number of shooters
    • physical description of the shooter(s)
    • number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
    • number of known people at the location
    • number of victims

When Law Enforcement Arrives

Law enforcement’s priority is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area where the suspected shots were reported. 

  • Officers may arrive individually or in teams. 
  • Officers may wear street clothes, patrol uniforms, or body armor.  
  • Officers will be armed.  
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. 
  • Officers may shout commands, and push individuals to the ground (this is for everyone’s safety.)

How You Should Act 

  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions. 
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets, phones, books).
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers. 
  • Keep hands visible at all times. 
  • Do not
    • make any quick movements
    • attempt to grab on to officers
    • point, scream, or yell at officers
  • Follow the instructions of the officers.

Guidelines for Assisting Individuals with Disabilities in an Evacuation

The following general guidelines are provided to help evacuate individuals with disabilities. However, these guidelines may not apply in every circumstance due to specific individual needs. It is important to remember that evacuation is difficult and uncomfortable for both the rescuers and the people being assisted. Some people have conditions that can be aggravated or triggered if they are moved incorrectly. It is also important to know that environmental conditions (e.g., smoke, debris, loss of electricity) will complicate evacuation efforts. Before attempting to evacuate a person with a disability consider your options and the risk of injury to yourself and others. Do not make an emergency situation worse.

  • Occupants should be invited to volunteer ahead of time to assist persons with disabilities in an emergency. If a volunteer is not available, identify someone to assist who is willing to accept the responsibility.  
  • Two or more trained volunteers, if available, should conduct the evacuation.
  • Do not evacuate persons in their wheelchairs. This is standard practice to ensure the safety of persons with disabilities and volunteers. Wheelchairs will be evacuated later if possible.
  • Always ask someone with a disability how you can help before attempting any rescue technique or giving assistance. Ask how they can best be assisted or moved, and whether there are any special considerations or items that need to come with them.
  • Before attempting an evacuation, volunteers and the people being assisted should discuss how any lifting will be done and where they are going.
  • Proper lifting techniques should be used to avoid injury to rescuers' backs (i.e., bending the knees, keeping the back straight, holding the person close before lifting, and using leg muscles to lift.) Ask permission of the evacuee if an evacuation chair or similar device is being considered as an aid in an evacuation. When using such devices, make sure the person is secured properly. Be careful on stairs and rest at landings if necessary. Certain lifts may need to be modified depending on the person's disabilities. 
  • Do not use elevators, unless authorized to do so by police or fire personnel. Elevators could fail during a fire.
  • If the situation is life threatening, call College Security at 704.330.6911.
  • Check on people with disabilities during an evacuation. A "buddy system" — where people with disabilities pre-identify volunteers (co-workers/roommates) to alert them and assist them in an emergency — is a good method.
  • It is important to plan and practice emergency evacuation routes to ensure a safe evacuation.

Mobility Impaired: Wheelchair

Persons using wheelchairs should Shelter in Place, or move to an area of rescue with their evacuation assistant when the alarm sounds. The evacuation assistant should then proceed to the evacuation rally point outside the building and tell the responders the location of the person with a disability. If the person with a disability is alone, they should call emergency services at 704.330.6911 or 911 with their current location and where they are headed.

Stairway evacuation of wheelchair users should be conducted by trained professionals. Only in situations of extreme danger should untrained people attempt to evacuate wheelchair users. Moving a wheelchair down stairs is never safe.

Mobility Impaired: Non-Wheelchair

Persons with mobility impairments, who are able to walk independently, may be able to navigate stairs in an emergency with minor assistance. If danger is fast-approaching, the individual should wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs. If there is no immediate danger (detectable smoke, fire, or unusual odor), the person with a disability may choose to stay in the building, in the area of rescue, until the emergency personnel arrive and determine if evacuation is necessary.

Hearing Impaired

Some buildings on campus have fire alarm strobe lights; however, many do not. Persons with hearing impairments may not hear audio emergency alarms and will need to be alerted of emergency situations. Emergency instructions can be given by writing a short explicit note to evacuate.

Visually Impaired

Most people with a visual impairment will be familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. Since the emergency evacuation route is likely different from the commonly traveled route, persons who are visually impaired may need assistance in evacuating. The assistant should offer their elbow to the individual with a visual impairment and guide them through the evacuation route. During the evacuation the assistant should communicate as necessary to assure safe evacuation.