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Community Response/Active Threat Incident

Purpose: Recommended safety measures for ongoing and immediate life-threatening incidents involving hostile suspects


  • Individuals must use their own discretion about when they must engage a hostile suspect for survival.
  • Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with the suspect except for self-protection.
  • Contact authorities as soon as it is safe to do so. Call extension 4-2121 (from on-campus phone) or 412-624-2121. Have these numbers programmed into your cell phone.
  • Report location, number of suspects, and description if possible.
  • Make the determination of whether to run, hide, or fight and commit to it.


if there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate. Evacuate whether others agree to or not.

  • Leave belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering area.


if evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

  • Lock and/or blockade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Remain very quiet.

Your hiding place should be out of the suspect’s view, provide protection from shots fired in your direction, and not trap or restrict your options for movement.


as a last resort and only if your life is in danger.

  • Attempt to incapacitate the suspect.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.

When Law Enforcement Arrives

  • Remember that the police will act first to neutralize the threat.
  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Keep hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid pointing or yelling.
  • Know that help for the injured is on its way.

Visit the University of Pittsburgh police Web site and watch the Run, Hide, Fight video, funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The video is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.