3 Steps to Take During An Active Shooter School Lockdown

active shooter tips

Most of us have a natural inclination to focus on positive things and shy away from, or entirely avoid, negative topics. Like the possibility of encountering dangerous situations. As parents, educators and first responders, we don’t have that luxury. Our children depend on us to help them stay safe.

Our mission at BeSafe Technologies is to help save lives by providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time. Today we are sharing the 3 things you need to do during a school lockdown, according to the experts in the Department of Homeland Security.

This information is primarily dealing with active shooter incidents on a school campus but is also applicable to the workplace.

School lockdowns are on the increase in the United States. Largely because of hightened awareness after several well known school shootings in Parkland Florida, Newtown Connecticut and Virginia Tech.

It’s important to remember that each situation is different, and there are many variables. During an active shooter incident, your school will likely be in complete chaos. Being prepared in advance with some simple, easy-to-remember guidelines may help to save your life or those around you.

Be sure to review this advice with your child, and help them to feel as comfortable as possible with something that a child should never have to think about.

During an active shooter situation, remember these 3 things:

1) Run

2) Hide

3) Fight

In that order.


Your first response to the sound of gunfire should always be to run. That’s why it’s important to always know where your two closest exits are. (in case one of them is blocked by the shooter)

  • Plan your escape route in your head. Know it well.
  • It doesn’t matter if others choose not to. You should always evacuate the area.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm. This creates confusion and can make people think it is simply another drill.
  • Help others flee, if you are able to.
  • Leave your belongings behind. You can buy a new phone. Your life is what matters.
  • Don’t use elevators. Use the stairs.
  • Use a window to escape, if you can.
  • If you are in the shooter’s line of sight, run in a zig-zag fashion or from cover to cover.
  • Don’t let other people enter the area of the active shooter.
  • When exiting the building, keep your hands visible at all times. First responders will not know who is a threat when they arrive, and will need visuals to make it clear to them.
  • Follow the instructions from police.
  • Don’t try to move wounded people. You may make their situation worse.
  • Call 911 as soon as you are safe.


If it’s not possible to run, then hiding is your next best option. Find a good place to hide, somewhere where it is unlikely the shooter will find you. That might sound obvious but humans often make illogical choices when they panic.

The best hiding places share these characteristics:

  • Be completely out of the shooters line of sight
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
  • Not trap you if you need to run again

Once you’ve hidden yourself:

  • If there is a door, lock it.
  • Blockade that door with heavy items, like furniture.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Keep as low as possible. In case bullets penetrate your hiding place.

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Again, lock the door.
  • Silence your phone. Now is not the time to be filming for Snapchat.
  • Turn off anything that can make noise. (like TVs and radios)
  • Hide behind large, heavy items. (furniture)
  • Remain absolutely still and keep quiet.
  • Do not play dead. Gunmen often circle back to confirm their victims are dead.


Let’s be 100% clear here. Fighting the shooter is the absolute last resort, and should only be attempted if there is no other option.

Always run first. If that is not an option, then hide. If hiding isn’t available either, and it’s clear your life is in danger, then it’s time to fight.

Take these steps to try to stop the active shooter:

  • Act as aggressively as possible. Now is not the time to hold back.
  • Throw items and use nearby objects as weapons.
  • Yell loudly. Make the shooter uncomfortable.
  • Commit to action. At this point, it means your life.

Be prepared. Be safe.

We all wish we lived in a world where it wasn’t necessary to go to these lengths to protect our children in a place where they should feel safe. Schools should be safe a place to learn and grow, not a potential source of danger.

It is our sincere hope that lockdowns and shootings become a thing of the past, but in the meantime, this is the reality we currently find ourselves in and need to plan for.

Please review these official active school shooter guidelines and recommendations with your child. Ensure they are well-prepared to Run Hide Fight and can increase their chances of remaining safe, when unthinkable happens.

NOTE: The BeSafe Building Safety Platform is the ONLY school safety system to win the industry leading IDC Smart Buildings award. Find out how we can improve safety at your school or workplace.

Contact us for a demo.

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