Shooter On Campus/Workplace Violence

Several recent and tragic shootings on school campuses have heightened concern about what steps to take if you are confronted with a similar situation.

Washington University in St. Louis’ Emergency Management Offices, Washington University Police Department and Washington University School of Medicine Protective Services encourage all members of our community to view this video that demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario. This instructive video reviews the choices of RUN, HIDE, or, as an option of last resort, challenging (FIGHT) the shooter. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene.

The Washington University Police Department and the Washington University School of Medicine Protective Services Department offer the following recommendations:

Active Shooter

If you are involved in a situation where someone has entered the area and started shooting a firearm or is threatening to shoot:

  • Exit the building immediately, if possible (RUN). If it is not possible to exit, lock or barricade yourself in an office or room (see steps below).
  • Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
  • Go to another building to seek shelter.  Otherwise, it may be better to leave campus.
  • On the Danforth Campus, notify Washington University Police by calling (314) 935-5555 or 911.
  • On the Medical Campus, notify WUSM Protective Services at (314) 362-HELP(4357) or 911.
  • On the North Campus, West Campus, Tyson Research Center or off-campus clinic areas, call 911.

Give the dispatcher the following information:

  • Your name
  • Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
  • Number of shooters (if known)
  • Identification or physical description of shooter (if known)
  • Number of persons who may be involved
  • Your location

If you are directly involved and it is not possible to exit the building:

  • Go to the nearest room or office.
  • Close and lock or barricade the door (HIDE).
  • Cover the door windows.
  • If your door cannot be locked, stack tables and chairs against the door.
  • Turn off the lights and hide.
  • Silence your cell phone, pager, etc.
  • DO NOT answer the door.
  • Ignore any fire alarm bells; they may be a trick to draw people into the open.
  • On the Danforth Campus, notify Washington University Police at (314) 935-5555 or 911.
  • On the Medical Campus, notify WUSM Protective Services at (314) 362-HELP(4357) or 911.
  • On the North Campus, West Campus, Tyson Research Center or off-campus clinic areas, notify 911.
  • Wait for Washington University Police, Protective Services or local authorities to assist you out of the building.

Give the dispatcher the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your location (be as specific as possible)
  • Number of shooters (if known)
  • Identification or physical description of shooter (if known)
  • Number of persons who may be involved
Violence and Active Shooter Resources

Terrorism

Terrorism may involve devastating acts using weapons of mass destruction including chemical agents, biological hazards, radiological agents, nuclear devices or explosives. The primary objective of a terrorist is to create widespread fear.

During a terrorist attack:

  • Stay calm.
  • Be vigilant.
  • Look out for secondary hazards such as falling debris or additional explosions.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency service personnel.
Terrorism Resources

Suspicious Mail/Packages

An envelope or package is generally deemed “suspicious” if it has any of the following indicators:

  • No return address
  • Misspelled words or titles
  • Protruding wires
  • Strange odor
  • Oily stains
  • Lopsided or uneven shape
  • Excessive tape, string or postage

For suspect envelopes or packages:

  • DO NOT open the envelope or package.
  • DO NOT shake, empty or disturb the contents.
  • LEAVE it and EVACUATE the room.
  • KEEP others from entering the room.
  • WASH your hands with soap and water.
  • NOTIFY your supervisor and campus security. For off-campus emergencies, call 911.

For letters or packages that are opened and contain powder:

  • DO NOT PANIC. Anthrax organisms can cause skin infection, gastrointestinal infection or pulmonary infection only if they enter the skin through a cut or scrape or are swallowed or inhaled as a fine, aerosolized mist. All forms of disease are generally treatable with antibiotics.
  • Gently close the suspicious letter or package and place it on the nearest flat surface.
  • Do not disturb the contents of any suspicious envelope or package.
  • Do not smell or closely examine any powder or suspicious substance.
  • Do not place the letter or package in a plastic bag or other container.
  • Do not attempt to clean up any spilled powder.
  • Leave the room immediately and close the doors.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water if a sink is available. Do not use bleach or disinfectants on your skin.
  • Notify your supervisor and call campus security or 911, if off campus. Wait in an adjacent area until responders arrive.
  • Do not allow others to enter the area.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or any other part of your body.
  • Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place it in a plastic bag. Shower with soap and water.
  • Make a list all of the people who were in the room or area when the suspicious letter or package was recognized.
Suspicious Mail Resources

Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat by telephone, try to remain calm and get as much information as possible from the caller. Try to write down the caller’s exact words and the time of the call. Check to see if the caller’s phone number or location is displayed on your phone.

Ask the caller:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why?
  • What is your name and address?

Try to notice descriptive or other useful details (preferably write them down):

  • Did the caller sound like a man? a woman?
  • Approximate age?
  • Distinctive voice, pronunciation or accent or speech patterns?
  • Tone of voice and attitude?
  • Did the call seem to be a recording?
  • Were there background voices or noises or other clues about location or caller identity?

If the threat came in a form other than a call (e.g., a note was left or delivered):

  • Immediately notify campus security or call 911 if off campus.
  • Report the time, location and content of the threat message, as well as your location and phone number.
  • Take a quick visual look around your area for any suspicious objects. Do not touch or move any object.
  • If you are told to evacuate the area, take your notes about the call with you.