Skip to main content

Virginia Fusion Center


Active Shooter

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation
  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

Options for Consideration Active Shooter Training

Dept. of Homeland Security

The Options for Consideration video demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene.

RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.® Surviving an Active Shooter Event

Ready Huston

Surviving an active shooter even

Surviving an Active Shooter Event – Civilian Response to Active Shooter


Since 2002, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT)™ Program at Texas State University has been used to train law enforcement officers across the nation in how to rapidly respond to dangerous active threat situations. Over the years we’ve seen response times shorten and the capabilities of law enforcement increase. As a result of increased public awareness, many citizens have asked what individuals can do protect themselves and reduce the dangers faced during one of these events. Avoid | Deny | Defend™ has been developed as an easy to remember method for individuals to follow. As we’ve seen that hiding and hoping isn’t a very effective strategy.

For more information visit:

Avoid Deny Defend Website:

ALERRT Website:

Emergency Services Sector Active Shooter Guide

The Emergency Services Sector Active Shooter Guide has been completed and approved for release. The purpose of this guide is to provide emergency services personnel with the basic building blocks for developing an Active Shooter Program with communities. This guide highlights resources and planning considerations, which will enhance emergency services organizations’ ability to develop or improve community planning and preparedness for active shooter incidents.

The guide can be found here.

Active Shooter Pocket Guide


Department of Homeland Security

Be Prepared For an Active Shooter 

This PDF describes what to do in an active shooter event. Remember during an active shooting to RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.


FEMA V-1000/March 2018

Active Shooter: How to Respond Educational Booklet

Original release date: March 26, 2014 | Last revised: May 28, 2019
Department of Homeland Security – CISA