Safety Information

Active Shooter Guidelines

Though we hope we never encounter an active shooter situation on the University of Michigan campus, we know preparation and advance planning can guide our actions and help reduce the negative impacts of such a tragic event. This information provides guidance to faculty, staff, students and visitors who may encounter an active shooter situation. It also describes what you can expect from responding law enforcement officers.

An active shooter is a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas on campus. In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases, active shooters use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders. These IEDs may detonate immediately, have delayed d etonation fuses, or may detonate on contact. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response by the community and immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent harm to the community. Be aware that the 911 system may become overwhelmed.

Please contact UMPD if you have additional questions or would like an officer to speak to your department, class or group.


In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and CALL 9-1-1 as soon as possible.

If an active shooter is outside your building or inside the building you are in, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  3. Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded
  4. Lock and barricade doors or windows
  5. Turn off lights
  6. Close blinds
  7. Block windows
  8. Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound
  9. Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets
  10. Silence cell phones
  11. Have one person CALL 9-1-1 and provide:
    • Your name and location and state that "we have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired."
    • If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person(s) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen, direction of travel, and identity - if known
    • If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims
    • If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location seen and a description.
    • If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.
  12. Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer, or a University official known to you, provides an "all clear"
  13. Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety; do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer or University official
  14. Attempts to rescue people only should be attempted if rescue can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area
  15. Depending on circumstances, consideration also may be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter
  3. Only as a last resort when it is imminent that your life is in danger, make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s) if there is no possibility of escape or hiding
  4. CALL 9-1-1, if possible, and provide the information listed in the previous guideline
  5. Barricade the room or proceed to a safer location if the active shooter(s) leaves the area

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

  1. Try to remain calm.
  2. Move away from the active shooter or the sounds of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s)
  3. Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection, i.e. brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop bullet penetration
  4. Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  5. CALL 9-1-1 and provide the information listed in the first guideline

What to expect from responding police officers

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  1. Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life- threatening behavior
  2. Identify other threats such as improvised explosive devices
  3. Identify persons requiring medical care
  4. Identify and interview victims
  5. Process and investigate the crime scene

Police 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 responding officers may be in teams dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and other tactical gear. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. Do exactly as the officers instruct. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times; if instructed to lie down, do so. If you know where the shooter is, tell the officers.

Keep in mind that, even once you have escaped to a safer location, the police usually will not let anyone leave the area until the situation is completely under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.

Keeping Updated

If an active shooter situation develops, the University will implement its Emergency Management Plan and will combine efforts with law enforcement to support them in their efforts to manage the event. The University will provide the most accurate and timely information available to students, faculty, staff and the community. The University is working on developing a variety of ways to disseminate information.

Outdoor Safety

  • Avoid walking or running alone at night
  • Always walk in well-lit areas
  • Avoid the use of shortcuts or areas with minimal foot-traffic
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you -- especially if you are alone or it is dark
  • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys where someone could hide
  • Walk at a steady pace with a self-assured stride
  • Avoid using headphones while walking, driving or jogging
  • If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle
  • Do not display cash openly, especially when leaving an ATM machine
  • If in danger, scream and run, yell "fire" or carry and blow a loud whistle to attract attention or if attacked and run if necessary
  • Hold your purse tightly, close to your body. Keep your wallet in a front or buttoned hip pocket or side coat pocket. When walking in a parking lot, carry your purse on the side that is closest to parked vehicles
  • Carry as little cash as possible
  • Have your key ready in your hand so you can open the door to your home or car immediately
  • Don't hitchhike
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and go immediately to an area with lights and people; get help if necessary
  • Do not resist armed robbers. Property can be replaced--your life cannot

Safety While Waiting for a Bus

  • Try to avoid isolated bus stops
  • Stand away from the curb until the bus arrives
  • Don't open your purse or wallet while boarding the bus
  • During off hours, ride as near to the driver as possible
  • Stay alert and be aware of the people around you
  • If someone bothers you, change seats and/or tell the driver
  • Carry your wallet inside your coat or in a front pocket. A comb placed horizontally in the fold of your wallet may alert you if someone tries to remove it from your pocket
  • Keep your handbag in front of you and hold it close to your body with both hands
  • Check your purse or wallet if someone is jostling, crowding or pushing you

ATM Safety

  • Try to avoid using an ATM by yourself; take someone with you or only use an ATM when others are around
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM after dark. If you must, choose one that is in a busy, public place, well lit and doesn't have tall bushes nearby
  • If at all possible, take along a friend who can watch the surroundings while you are conducting your transactions
  • When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable or anyone who looks suspicious, do not stop. Either use an ATM at a different location or come back later
  • Pre-plan your transaction carefully, and don't spend too much time at the machine. Have your access card and any other documents you need ready when you approach an ATM. While you are fumbling with a wallet or purse, you are easy prey for a thief
  • If someone else is using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business
  • Watch out for suspicious-looking people waiting around an ATM - they may not really be customers. If someone offers to let you go ahead of them, decline politely and leave
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen or keypad. Use your body to shield your PIN from onlookers. Don't give your PIN out to others. This is the leading cause of theft
  • If you have not finished your transaction, and a suspicious person approaches you, press the CANCEL button, remove your card and leave quickly
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt, and then leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying large amounts of cash
  • As you leave, be aware of anything suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police
  • When visiting a drive-through ATM, keep your doors locked and be prepared to drive away quickly. If anyone approaches your car on foot, roll up your window and drive off

Vehicle Safety

  • If you're coming or going after dark, park in a well-lit area that will still be well lit when you return
  • Always have your car keys in your hand so you can get into your car immediately
  • Always check the back seat before entering your car
  • Always keep windows rolled up and doors locked after entering or leaving your car
  • Never leave your keys in your car, even if you will only be gone a moment
  • Never leave valuables in sight, hide them under the seat or in the glove compartment
  • When parking, look for any suspicious persons loitering before leaving your car
  • Always park in well-lighted areas
  • If you're being followed by another car, Honk your horn in short bursts to attract attention and drive to a gas station, police or fire department
  • Always keep your car in good running condition with at least half a tank of gas
  • If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood and place emergency reflectors or flares to the rear of your car, to warn other motorist of the hazard then inside for help. Do not get out of the car. If someone stops to help, don't get out. Ask him or her, through a closed or cracked window, to telephone the police to come and help
  • Beware of staged automobile accidents. The goals of these events are 1) to steal your car while you are investigating the damages, or 2) insurance fraud. Drive a safe distance behind the automobile in front of you and if you are in an accident, stay in your car until the police arrive
  • Be especially alert when using enclosed parking garages. Don't walk into an area if you feel uncomfortable
  • Keep track of your keys. Leave only your ignition key with parking valets; never leave identification tags on your key ring; if your keys are lost or stolen, it could help a thief locate your car and burglarize your home
  • License plates are sometimes stolen from cars and used in other crimes. Get in the habit of checking your plates when you drive. A few drops of solder on the bolts or blurring the threads can help safeguard your plates
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers

Home Safety

  • Install a peephole in your front door so you can see callers without opening the door. Do not rely on chains. If you use a wheelchair or live with persons taller than you are, ensure a wide-angle door viewer is installed at a height beneficial to all residents
  • Ask for proper identification from repairmen, utility workers or strangers. Don't be afraid of asking -- if they are legitimate they won't mind
  • Keep windows and doors secured with adequate locks at all times. For ventilation, secure windows open no more than five inches
  • Close your curtains or blinds at night to prevent strangers from seeing you are alone
  • Be alert to protect your neighbors and yourself. Never mention to a stranger that a neighbor lives, or is at home, alone
  • When a stranger asks to use the telephone, do not permit him to enter. Offer to summon emergency assistance or make the call for him
  • Never hide an extra key under a mat, in a flowerpot, or in any other easily accessible place. Criminals know all the hiding places. Give your keys to trusted neighbors
  • If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don't go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police
  • Have good lighting at all entrances

School or Workplace Safety and Security

  • Never leave your valuables in plain view or in the pocket of a jacket hanging on a door
  • Mark your personal property with your driver's license number
  • If you work late, try to find someone to walk out with you
  • If a person makes threats, shows unusual outbursts of anger and/or appears unreasonably hostile, immediately discuss the situation with your supervisor, security, and human resources department staff
  • Check elevators before entering; wait for the next elevator if you are suspicious of any occupant
  • When riding in an elevator, stand near the control panel. If an uncomfortable situation arises, press several buttons for upcoming floors and exit immediately

Date Rape Prevention

Date or acquaintance rape means being forced or pressured into having sex by someone you know--against your will, without your consent.

  • Know that it could happen to you: studies indicate that between 10 and 25 percent of women report that men they knew raped them
  • Be assertive in setting boundaries for relationships. Even casual unwanted contact should be firmly discouraged. It is easier to fight off a big attack if you've practiced on smaller intrusions
  • Judge a person by his behavior, not his race, looks, socioeconomic status, or even his relationship to you. Watch out for someone who:
    • Gets hostile when you say "no"
    • Ignores your wishes, opinions, ideas
    • Attempts to make you feel guilty or accuse you of being uptight if you say "no" to sex
    • Acts excessively jealous or possessive; keeps tabs on your whereabouts
    • Displays destructive anger and aggression
  • Define your limits, i.e., how much touch you want with different male friends (handshake, kiss on cheek, kiss on mouth, hug with both arms, intercourse, no touch). Think about this in advance, even though you can change your mind later
  • Defend your limits: "I don't like it when you do that"; "I like you and I don't want to go to bed with you"; "Let's go to the coffeehouse (instead of around the lagoon)." You have the right to be respected, to change your mind, to say "no" or just say, "Because I don't want to." Practice saying "no" clearly --don't hint, don't expect anyone to read your mind
  • Be prepared for his reaction to your defending your limits. Possible reactions include hostility, embarrassment, blaming you for leading him on. You are not responsible for his behavior or his reaction; if he is someone you care about, you may wish to help him through the embarrassment, but you do not need to feel responsible. You have every right to your own decisions
  • Most date rapes involve men and women who conform to traditional, rigid sex roles so it is important to examine sexism in order to prevent rape. Avoid stereotypes such as "anger is unfeminine" that prevent you from expressing yourself
  • Be aware of situations when you do not feel relaxed and in charge. Stereotypes of passivity, coyness, and submissiveness can contribute to a climate for male aggression -- which is his stereotype
  • Communicate clearly! Say "no" when you mean no; "yes" when you mean yes; stay in touch with your feelings to know the difference
  • Believe and act as if you come first, without exploiting others. Treat yourself and others with respect
  • Be careful not to let alcohol or other drugs decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions
  • Trust your gut feelings. If a place or the way your date acts makes you nervous or uneasy, get out
  • Check out a first date or a blind date with friends. Meet in and go to public places. Carry money for a phone call or taxi, or take your own car
  • Don't leave a social event with someone you've just met or don't know well
  • Do not accept beverages from someone you don't know and trust. Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended