Skip to main content

ALICE Response Plan

In the event of an active shooter emergency, the university has adopted the ALICE response plan to assist you in determining the best options available to survive an attack. The ALICE response does not follow a set of prescribed actions, and you may not need to utilize all of the five steps when confronting an active shooter. Your survival is the most important outcome.


  • Any number of things can alert you to a shooter situation:
    • Gunfire
    • Witnesses
    • Unusual commotion on campus
    • Phone/Text alerts


  • A lockdown is a semi-secure starting point from which to make your survival decisions. If you decide not to evacuate, secure the room.
    • Lock the door.
    • Cover any windows in the door if possible.
    • Tie down the door if possible using belts, purse straps, shoe laces, etc.
    • Barricade the door with anything available (desks, chairs, file cabinets.).
    • Look for alternative escape routes (windows, additional doors).
    • Call 911
    • Move out of the doorway in case gunfire comes through it.
    • Silence or place cellphones on vibrate.
    • Once secured, do not open the door for anyone. Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure you out. Police will enter the room when the situation is over.
    • Gather weapons (coffee cups, chairs, books, pens, etc.) and mentally prepare to defend yourself or others.
    • Put yourself in position to surprise the active shooter should they enter the room


  • Use any means necessary to pass on real time information
    • Use plain language
    • Derived from 911 calls, video surveillance, etc.
    • Who, what, when where and how information
    • Helps people in or around the areas area to make common sense decisions
    • Can be given by Flash Alerts, PA Announcements, police radio speakers


  • Use of simple, proactive techniques should you be confronted by an active shooter
    • Anything can be a weapon
    • Throw things at the shooter's head to disrupt his aim
    • Create as much noise as possible
    • Attack in a group (swarm)
    • Grab the shooter's limbs and head. Take the shooter to the ground and hold him there.
    • Fight dirty: Bite, kick, gouge eyes, etc.
    • Run around the room and create chaos
    • If you have control of the shooter call 911 and tell the police where you are and listen to their commands when officers arrive on the scene,


  • Remove yourself from the danger zone as quickly as possible
    • Decide if you can safely evacuate.
    • Run in a zigzag pattern as fast as you can.
    • Do not stop running until you are far away from the scene.
    • Bring something to throw at the shooter should you encounter him
    • Consider if a fall from a window will kill you
    • Break out windows and attempt to quickly clear glass from the frame
    • Consider using belts, clothing or other items as an improvised rope to shorten the distance you would fall.
    • Hang by your hands from the window ledge to shorten your drop
    • Attempt to drop into shrubs, mulch or grass to lessen the chance of injury
    • Do not attempt to drive from the area

What to Expect from Responding Police Officers

  • Police are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting quickly.
  • Responding officers will normally be in teams. They may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers will be armed with guns. Regardless of how they appear, remain calm, do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them.
  • Put down anything you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times.
  • The first officers will not stop to aid injured people. Other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow to remove injured persons.
  • Keep in mind that after you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene.
  • Police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.
  • Until you are released, remain where authorities designate.

Shots Fired Video

Produced by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, this 20-minute video provides guidance about what to do in the event of an on-campus shooter.