These recommended procedures cannot cover every possible situation that might occur. Nevertheless, they serve as an awareness and training tool likely to reduce the number of injuries or death if followed as soon as a situation develops.
When a hostile person(s) is actively causing deadly harm or the imminent threat of deadly harm within a building, we recommend the following procedures be followed:
- Lock yourself in the room you are in at the time of the threatening activity.
- If communication is available, call 911 (or 9-911 from a campus phone).
- Don’t stay in the open hall.
- Do not sound the fire alarm. A fire alarm would signal the occupants in the rooms to evacuate the building and thus place them in potential harm as they attempted to exit.
- Barricade yourself in the room with furniture or anything you can push against the door.
- Lock the window and close blinds or curtains.
- Stay away from windows.
- Turn all lights and audio equipment off.
- Silence cell phones
- Try to stay calm and be as quiet as possible
- Keep others calm quiet and out of sight
- Contact authorities. Be aware the local emergency numbers may be overwhelmed. Program the Public Safety and Chestertown administrative numbers into cell phones: Washington College Public Safety 410-778-7810; Chestertown Police Department 410-778-1800.
What to Report
- Your specific location - building name and office/room number
- Number of people at your specific location
- Injuries - number injured, types of injuries
- Assailant(s) - location, number of suspects, race/gender, clothing description, physical features, type of weapon(s) (long gun or hand gun), backpack, shooters identity if known, separate explosions from gunfire, etc.
If for some reason you are caught in an open area such as a hallway or lounge type area, you must decide what action to take.
- You can try to hide, but attempt to find a well-hidden space or you may be found as the intruder moves through the building looking for victims.
- If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running, then do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Keep any objects you can between you and the hostile person(s) while in the building. Use trees, vehicles or any other object to block you from view as you run. When away from the immediate area of danger, summon help any way you can and warn others.
- If the person(s) is causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
- The last option you have if caught in an open area in the dorm, may be to fight back. This is dangerous, but depending on your situation, this could be a viable option. If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, follow directions and don’t look the intruder in the eyes.
Once the police arrive, obey all commands. This may involve being handcuffed or made to put your hands in the air. This is done for safety reasons and once the police evaluate circumstances, they will give you further directions to follow.
- Objective is to immediately engage assailant(s)
- Evacuate victims
- Facilitate follow up medical care, interviews, counseling