Skip to this page's content

Active Shooter

If you see any armed individual on campus at any time or if an individual is acting in a hostile or belligerent manner, immediately contact Simmons College Police Department at 617-521-1111 or 911.

What is an Active Shooter?

An active shooter is defined as "an armed person(s) who has used deadly physical force on other persons and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims." In most cases, active shooters use a firearm(s), and they often display no sign of a pattern or a method for selecting their victims. In some cases, active shooters use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices (IED) to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders. These IED's could detonate immediately, have delayed detonation fuses, or detonate on contact.
An active shooter situation differs from a hostage or barricaded-subject situation. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly; they are demanding an immediate response from the community. They also demand an immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent further harm to the community.
A hostage or barricade-subject situation often takes place over a longer period of time and usually there is not ongoing injury or loss of life. The situations are often managed through the deployment of specialized units, as time allows. The hostage or barricaded-subject situation could turn into an Active Shooter situation and vice versa.

What to do if you find yourself involved in an Active Shooter situation?

If an active shooter is outside your building and enters the building you are in, you should:

  • Remain calm
  • Warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  • Go to a room that can be locked or barricaded
  • Lock or barricade doors or windows
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection
  • Silence cell phones
  • Have one person call 911 or 617-521-1111 and state :"( your exact location). We have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired."
What additional information will law enforcement be looking for?
  • Description of the offender(s): sex, race, height, weight, clothing, type of weapon(s), etc.
  • Location last seen, direction of travel and identity if known
  • Description of any victims: provide location(s) and number of victims
  • If you observed any suspicious devices (IED), provide the location of the device and a description
  • If you heard explosions, provide a description and location
What else should I look for?
  • Wait patiently until a uniformed law enforcement officer provides an "all clear".
  • Do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a law enforcement officer; unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety.
  • Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area. Depending on circumstances, consideration may also be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.
What if the Active Shooter comes to the area I am?
  • Try to remain calm.
  • Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter.
  • If there is no possibility of escaping or hiding, only as a last resort when your life is in imminent danger, should you make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or over power the assailant.
  • Call 911 or 617-521-1111, if possible, and provide information listed above.
  • If the active shooter(s) leaves the area, barricade the room or go to a safer location.

If you are in an outside area and encounter an active shooter, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Move away from the active shooter or the sound of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s).
  • Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection (i.e., brick walls, retaining walls, parked vehicles, etc.)
  • Call 911 or 617-521-1111 and provide the information listed above.
  • What should you expect from responding officers?

What you should expect from responding officers:

  • Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life-threatening behavior.
  • Identify threats such as improvised explosive devices (IED).
  • Identify victims to facilitate medical care, interviews and counseling.
  • Investigate.
  • Law enforcement officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
  • The first responding officers may be in teams; they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear.

Important Definitions:

  • Shelter-in-place: a directive to seek immediate shelter indoors following the announcement of an emergency condition.
  • Lockdown: a directive to stop access and/or egress as appropriate, to all or a portion of the buildings on campus.

For more information on what to do in an active shooter situation, please click on the link below from the Department of Homeland Security.  
Active Shooter Pocket Card