Where We Learn An Informed Conversation on Active Threat Readiness

According to the FBI, there have been 15 Active Shooter Incidents at Institutes of Higher Education from 2000-2017.

College is not only a place of learning, but also a place where you live, work, and have fun. Students' lives revolve around their place of learning, and they should feel and be safe.

Each and every one of us plays an important role in helping protect the safety and security of our workplaces, our local communities, and each other.

How Prepared Are You?

You went to a sporting event a few blocks away from campus. It ended around 10PM and you have to walk home. Your friends all live off-campus and will be driving.

What should you do?

Answer: Maintain Situational Awareness

Safety Options:

  • Request a ride from a friend who is not in any way under the influence or impaired.
  • Contact a trusted friend to walk with you.
  • Advise a trusted person that you are walking alone, your expected arrival time, and ask them to check on you at your expected arrival time.
  • Use a ride sharing service.

If using a ride sharing service, make sure to:

  • Check the license plate, make, and model of the car against the app you are using to confirm the car
  • Ask the driver to confirm your name
  • Be familiar with how to signal for help through the ride sharing app
  • Report any unacceptable behavior from the driver to the app and/or law enforcement when appropriate.

If you know you have to walk home, find out if your school has campus escorts that you can contact to walk you home.

Having Situational Awareness means that you know where the closest police stations, fire stations, and urgent care facilities are located.

Your classmate who is normally well groomed has been coming to class noticeably disheveled (wrinkled clothes, messy hair, and has not showered), or has not been in class at all. You text them and ask if they are okay. They respond with an odd comment, "I will be soon".

What would you do?

Answer: Engage Available Resources: Advisors; Professors; Counselors

Reporting Options:

  • Report it to a Resident Assistant (RA)
  • Confide in a trusted professor
  • Speak with one of the Campus Counselors
  • Consider Campus Security for a wellness check if unable to contact any of the above

There could be a number of different contributors to the change in behavior. In the most extreme case, the person may be considering a violent act or active suicide. Some of the potential indicators are:

  • Severe mood swings
  • Disregard for personal appearance
  • Talking or joking about suicide
  • Statements of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Extreme highs or extreme lows
  • Withdrawal or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Poor academic performance
  • A change in their communication pattern
  • Contacting friends or family whom they have not spoken to on a regular basis
  • Giving away possessions or getting affairs in order
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as excessive drinking or drug use
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • An unusual obsession with, and verbalization about weapons

When situations such as this go unreported, and the person is not able to receive the help they need, it can, unfortunately, become an extreme case .

On April 26, 2009, a man followed a pizza delivery driver through the gate at Hampton University, broke into a dormitory, fired on the driver and a night watchman, and then shot and wounded himself. Both victims and the shooter survived. He later told a psychologist that he had wanted to commit suicide, but was unsure if he would be able to go through with it on his own. Therefore, he planned to put himself in a situation in which he would have to kill himself. Nonetheless, he deliberately shot his victims and acknowledged he would have shot at others had they been in the vicinity.

Your friend has been acting strange lately. They have been fascinated with researching previous active shooters, have declined all attempts to socialize, and have been making hostile and aggressive posts on social media.

What would you do?

Answer: Report all suspicious behavior to the school and the police.

There are many behavioral indicators that a person may exhibit before their behavior escalates and they become an Active Assailant. They are:

  • Expression of suicidal tendencies
  • Talking about previous violent incidents
  • Unsolicited focus on dangerous weapons
  • Overreaction to changes
  • Depression or withdrawal
  • Unstable, emotional responses
  • Intense anger or hostility
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Violations of campus policy
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Exploiting or blaming others

You are studying in the library when you hear loud noises and screaming. People begin running into the library yelling that there is a shooter.

How do you respond?

Answer: Call 9-1-1 when it is safe to do so. Stay on the line and answer all questions they ask. Use the Department of Homeland Security's "Run, Hide, Fight" model.

Run: Get away from the danger as quickly as possible. Do not stop until you are safe.

Hide: Conceal yourself from the line sight of the shooter. Lock doors, dim lights, silence your cell phone. Do not barricade or block the door with your body.

Fight: As a last resort, fight. Use anything within reach as a weapon (fire extinguisher, furniture, trash cans, etc).

Assess the situation and choose the best option(s) that will work at that time. Remember, Run Hide, Fight is not linear. For example, you may have to Hide first and then Run.

Community of Engagement

Institutes of Higher Education have a duty to keep their students, faculty, parents, and community safe. Helping everyone in the community understand how to, when to, and where to report will help facilitate a more engaged campus community.

This culture of engagement goes further than reporting threatening situations, it is also important to emphasize reporting potentially violent or suicidal individuals so they will be able to receive the help they need. Stay informed of all aspects of the schools' reporting policies.

“Prevention begins when organizations facilitate a culture of engagement where individuals are unafraid to report something that does not look or feel right. The first line of defense in workplace violence prevention is an engaged community,” said Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, CEO of Kiernan Group Holdings. "Particularly important on college campuses and universities where, for the first time, strangers are coming together to build new learning communities and relationships. Security needs to be a part of that new learning environment."

Suicide Prevention and Awareness

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. Across all age groups, the prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts was highest among adults aged 18-25.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Integrating Technology with Preparedness

See Something, Say Something

Lumina S4 is a crowd sourced mobile application that helps keep our communities – and each other – safe. S4 provides a mobile, confidential and easy-to-use way to report suspicious behavior in real time.

"The power of S4 grows exponentially with each person who downloads the app, and together we can make a difference in the lives and well-being of those around us,” said Lumina CEO Allan Martin. “For those organizations looking for technologies to help keep their campuses and employees safe, S4 is an easy-to-use tool that integrates seamlessly into existing risk mitigation protocols.

Lumina S4 protects communities by empowering citizens with an easy to use reporting tool for suspicious behavior. Reports submitted using the Lumina S4 application are automatically forwarded to key law enforcement and security personnel to ensure immediate response.


Created with an image by Dmitry Schemelev - "untitled image"