Salisbury University students on campus

Hostile Intruder(s)

Active Shooter: How to Respond Booklet (PDF Download)

Active Shooter: What You Can Do (Online Course)

This training guide cannot cover every possible situation that might occur but it is a training tool that can reduce the number of injuries or death if put into action as soon as a situation develops. Time is the most important factor in the optimal management of these types of situations. The objectives of University Police in dealing with incidents of mass shootings, barricaded subjects, and hostage situations are to:

  • Secure safe release of any hostages involved.
  • Minimize risk to uninvolved people and police personnel.
  • Apprehend offender(s) with the amount of force that is reasonable given the circumstances.
  • Secure available evidence to assist in the appropriate disposition of the offender(s).

Survival Tips

  1. You can try to hide, but make sure it is a well-hidden space or you may be found as the intruder moves through the building looking for victims.
  2. If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running, do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Attempt to keep objects such as, desks, cabinets, fixtures, etc. between you and the hostile person(s). Once outside, do not run in a straight line. Use trees, vehicles, and other objects to block you from the view of intruders.
  3. Your last option if you are caught in an open area in a building may be to fight back. This is dangerous, but depending on your situation, this could be your last option.
  4. If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey all commands and do not look the intruder in the eyes.
  5. Once the police arrive, obey all commands. This may involve being handcuffed, or keeping your hands in the air. This is done for safety reasons, and once circumstances are evaluated by the police, they will give you further directions to follow.

Hostage Procedures

The initial 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions, be alert and stay alive. The captor is likely to be emotionally imbalanced.

  • Do not speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary. Do not talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile.
  • Avoid speculating. Comply with instructions as best you can. Avoid arguments. Expect the unexpected.
  • Be observant. You may be released or have the opportunity to escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory.
  • Be prepared to answer the police on the phone. Be patient, wait. If the opportunity presents itself, attempt to establish rapport with the captor. If medications, first aid, or rest room privileges are needed by anyone, say so. In all probability, the captors do not want to harm persons held by them. Such direct action further implicates the captor in additional offenses.