University of Southern Indiana

Active Shooter / Hostage Situation

Emergency Procedures - Active Shooter or Hostage Situation

Active Shooter

An active shooter is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area using firearms.

Active Shooter Recommendations

When an active shooter is in your vicinity: RUN – HIDE – FIGHT


  • Always try to escape or evacuate.
  • Call USI Public Safety by a campus phone (7777) or cell phone (812-492-7777) to report the incident and description/location of the shooter(s).
  • Notify authorities of the location of wounded people as soon as possible.
  • Have a safe escape route and plan in mind.
  • Encourage others to leave with you but don’t let their indecision slow you down.
  • Leave your belongings behind. Move quickly and keep your hands visible.
  • Warn or prevent others from entering the danger zone.
  • Don't try to leave campus until advised by law enforcement or campus administrators that it is safe to do so.
  • Follow the instructions of any law enforcement or Public Safety officers you may encounter.


Shelter-in-Place refers to a designated area of safety, generally indoors in a small interior room with no or few windows. If you receive an emergency notification from USI Public Safety’s Rave Alert System or another authoritative source, follow these instructions:

  • If safe to do so, call Public Safety (812-492-7777) or 911 to report your location and information about shooter(s).
  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.
  • Turn out lights, close window blinds/curtains, silence your cell phone.
  • Lock the doors or block entry to your hiding place using furniture and other objects.
  • Gather items to use for self-defense.
  • If others are present, spread out within the room as much as possible.
  • Identify ways to evacuate (doors, windows, stairwells) and make a plan to do so.
  • Stay low to the ground and be prepared to move.
  • Render first aid to the injured if able to do so.
  • If unable to evacuate, remain in location until given "All Clear" or released by law enforcement.
  • Monitor credible news sources for information and official University instructions (Rave Alerts, USI homepage:, and Emergency site) as they become available.


  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Work together as a team if others are present.
  • Act with physical aggression and throw objects at the active shooter, aim for eyes.
  • Use of a detraction device may allow you to escape or take down the shooter.
  • Remove weapon from shooter’s reach and safely hide it – do not handle it because law enforcement may view you as a threat.
  • Immobilize the shooter’s limbs until law enforcement arrives.

Hostage Situation

Hostage and barricaded subject situations can rapidly shift to active shooter situations and vice versa,  and often take place over a longer period of time. These situations are often managed by the deployment of specialized law enforcement units.

Observing a Hostage Situation

  • If you see someone being taken hostage, call USI Public Safety at 812-492-7777 or ext. 7777
  • Take note of the abductors, i.e. their habits, speech, mannerisms, and anything that might help authorities with identification.
  • Give authorities complete information about which employees or students might be in the area.
  • Follow all instructions from Public Safety or law enforcement authority.

Hostage Conduct

  • Do not fight back or struggle physically. Captors may appear trustworthy but they can’t be trusted to behave normally and their actions may be unpredictable.
  • Comply with the instructions of your abductors as closely as you can.
  • Do not discuss what actions(s) may be taken by your family, friends, or employer.
  • Take note of your abductors, i.e. their habits, speech, mannerisms, and what contacts they make.
  • If your abductors remove you from the workplace, make a mental note of all movements, including times in transit, direction, distances, speed, landmarks, special odors or smells and sounds like bells, construction, etc. If possible, try not to be removed from the workplace.
  • Generally, you can’t expect to have an opportunity to escape. Escape attempts should not be made unless you are in imminent danger and you have the best possible odds for success.
  • Don't provoke your abductors. They may react abusively and be violent.
  • Try to establish a rapport with your abductors. But remember, the abductors are never on your side, no matter how “reasonable” they appear.

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