Workplace violence may take the form of various types of personal assaults. These may include weapons such as knives or handguns. The only warning you may receive during a workplace violence incident is the sound of gunfire, scuffling, or other employees yelling a warning.
The tragic incidents that have occurred at schools such as Columbine and Virginia Tech have caused the term Active Shooter to be coined in the law enforcement world and now beyond. An active shooter is best defined as an individual armed with at least one firearm, and whose activity is causing the immediate death or serious injury of one or more victims. Police Officers here at UMSL and around the world have embraced new training and response methods to confront this type of incident and to minimize injuries as much as possible.
Please read these suggested ways for you to protect yourselves and others before the police arrive, it could save your life.
Classrooms or offices
- Stay there and lock or secure the door if possible
- Call the campus police immediately at 516-5155 or 911 from a campus phone. Give the dispatcher as much information as they ask for, and don't hang up until the dispatcher does.
- If the door does not lock, barricade the door or the opening with whatever means may be at hand. (furniture, desks, coat racks etc.)
- If there is a window in the door, cover it if possible.
- Depending on the gunman's location, it may be better to exit through the windows if possible. Have someone watch while others exit through the windows (lower floors only). Formulate a plan as quickly as possible, seconds count.
- Once outside move away from the building and toward police units. Do exactly as the police tell you; put your hands on top of your head as you run toward them. This will let the police know that you are complying with them.
- If you cannot get out through the windows, or your location is too high off the ground, keep out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet.
- If in a large room, such as a gym or theater exit to the outside. Once outside remember to move toward police units as mentioned above.
In Hallways and Corridors
- If in a hallway, move to a close room that is not secure and secure it.
- Exit the building if possible, but do not run down a long corridor to get out you may encounter the gunman, but you must find a way to protect yourself. Hiding in a restroom is not suggested.
- Always be alert and look for locations that can provide cover from gunfire. (Brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles or any other object that may stop bullet penetration).
Trapped with the Gunman
- If you are trapped with the gunman and he is not shooting, do not do anything to provoke him. Do what he says and do not make any sudden moves.
- If the gunman is shooting or starts shooting you must make a critical choice(at this point the choice is only yours). Stay still and hope he doesn't shoot you (not recommended), run away in a zigzag manner (a moving target is harder to hit), or attack the gunman (he will more than likely not be expecting an attack by an unarmed person). Obviously attacking the gunman is very dangerous, but standing still and doing nothing will probably be fatal. Any of these options could still result negatively, but at this point these are your only options.
Remember these words: flight, fight or freeze. In examining past incidents, those that froze were more likely to be harmed. Fleeing is the best option when the right circumstances exist. If confronted head on and other options are exhausted, fighting the gunman could save your life. In all of these instances there is no one right answer. There is little or no time for planning, so being aware of these suggestions ahead of time, and the choices you make may save you from harm.
In almost every past incident the perpetrator(s) did not keep their plans secret. A significant amount of information was leaked to other persons, but they were not aware that the information they had could have prevented the act. If you have anythought that you may have information that could result in a violent situation, please notify an authority (police, instructor, RA etc.) immediately.