A safety newsletter for the Illinois Wesleyan campus community

A safety newsletter for Illinois Wesleyan faculty, staff and students

January 2016

Active Shooter Safety Procedures

Unfortunately, our nation continues to experience mass casualty/active shooter situations in a variety of work places, but especially in educational environments. The potential for a mass casualty event exists on every college campus throughout the United States. Although the possession of firearms on or around college campuses is rare, the availability of firearms and past incidents both in our country and internationally dictate the need for a response plan.

Several different types of emergencies have catch phrases to help people remember what to do in a crisis. For fire, we all remember “stop, drop and roll.” For active shooter, the best practice is “Run, Hide, Fight.” We highly encourage you to watch this video produced by Ohio State University as it clearly outlines this particular strategy for higher education.

As we start this semester, please prepare for this type of emergency by:

  • Being aware of at least two possible exits from each of your classrooms, work areas, or residence halls. This is preparation for “Run” if you needed to do so.
  • Considering how you might barricade and/or hide yourself in a classroom, office, residence hall or other campus space. Where might you hide? What safe areas would prevent you from being seen? This awareness-raising helps you prepare to “Hide.”
  • Thinking through what tools you might have to use as a weapon, if required. What objects are around you that might disable or slow an attacker? For example, fire extinguishers, backpacks, books, chairs, etc. This preparedness helps you “Fight.”

These situations are scary, and they require you to respond quickly. Your mental preparedness is key to survival. These three key words – Run, Hide, Fight – provide the framework for reacting in the moment, in that priority order.

  • Run: We used to teach people to “shelter in place,” but that is not the most effective approach. If you can, your best strategy is to get out of the area. Leave your belongings behind and run!  Once in a safe area, prevent others from entering the vacated area. Call 911, identifying your exact location. Stay on the phone only if it is safe to do so.
  • Hide: If escape routes are blocked, find a safe place or cover (another classroom, an office, a closet, under a desk or table). If you are within 15-20 feet of a safe area, move or crawl to that area. Remember that many things may conceal you from sight but may NOT be bulletproof. If you are in a separate room, barricade the entry way with furniture, if possible. Turn off your cell phone and remain quiet. Do not move. Do not peek in an effort to see what is happening.
  • FIGHT: As a last resort, fight for your life. Commit to action and follow through. If confronted, use chairs, tables, book bags, books, heavy objects, anything, as a weapon. FIGHT!

In the event of an active shooter, you will receive an IWU alert message. Bloomington Police will respond to the threat. The incident is likely to be over in 5-10 minutes. Follow the instructions of the responding police officers. An IWU alert message will be sent when the situation is clear.

The possibility of these situations is alarming and concerning for all of us; however, as with all emergencies, preparedness is critical. Please take a few minutes to assess your environment and be thoughtful about how you would handle this crisis. Also, be an active and engaged member of our community. If you see something that is concerning to you about safety, or you are concerned about a friend who may share or post something that threatens campus or personal safety, please report your concerns to Security, Bloomington Police, and/or the Dean of Students office so that we may investigate and follow up with the individual. A key to preventing any campus tragedy is our ability to address concerns before an incident might occur.

Thank you for all that you do to keep our community safe. Have a wonderful semester.

Karla Carney-Hall
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students


The IWU Safety Pin is an electronic newsletter from Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall, chair of the Emergency Response Team.

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