Should an active threat such as a shooter or a person with a weapon appear on campus, call the University Police at 911 or 205-348-5454 as soon as is safely possible.  The University Police Department is trained to deal with this incident and will respond immediately upon notification.

Each situation is different, so no single procedure will work in all circumstances.  You will have to make the best decision based on your particular situation.  Always be aware of your surroundings as you determine how best to protect yourself.  The Department of Homeland Security offers the following suggestions:


If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.  Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officer
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 or 205-348-5454 (UAPD) when you are safe



If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Do not trap youself or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911 or 205-348-5454 (UAPD) if possible to alert police of the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen



As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

When calling the police, attempt to provide the following information:

  • Building/Site Name and location
  • Your name and phone number
  • Exact location and number of shooters
  • Description of shooter, type of weapon, number of hostages, if any
  • Number and location of injured persons


When the police arrive, they may not know who the shooter(s) are, yet perpetrators have been known to hide among students.  Therefore it is important to obey all law enforcement commands.  Officers may order everyone to raise their hands or even place handcuffs on them.  This is done for safety reasons to prevent further injury and possible escape by the perpetrator(s). The United States Department of Homeland Security offers the following additional resources:

US Department of Homeland Security Active Shooter Information

FEMA Active Shooter: What you can do?

US Department of Homeland Security Active Shooter Pocket Card

US Department of Homeland Security Active Shooter Quick Reference Guide