Active Attacker Safety

Run! Hide! Fight!

Staying safe from active attackers

An active attacker situation can occur without warning, and each one is different. While these incidents are rare, it's still important to be prepared. Three simple actions can be your greatest tool to surviving an attack:

  • Run!
  • Hide!
  • Fight!


Evacuate the area as quickly as possible. Leave your belongings behind. Be aware of all possible exits — doors, windows or stairways —and determine the fastest, safest way to leave the area. When you are safe, call the WSUPD emergency number at 313-577-2222.


Sometimes, escaping the scene isn't possible. When that's the case, find as safe a setting as you can and take cover in an area outside of the attacker's view. Lock or secure doors. Turn off the lights and silence your phone. Remain calm and keep quiet until law enforcement arrives.


When you can't run or hide, you're left with one option — fight.  Find anything around you heavy enough to use as a weapon, such as a phone, lamp, fire extinguisher, a chair or scissors. Use surprise to your advantage. Yell, scream and try to incapacitate the attacker. Remember, if you have to fight, it's only until police arrive and take over.

When help arrives

Remain calm and follow police officers' instructions. Officers won't always know who the attacker is, so, if told to do so, raise your hands and don't make any quick movements. Remember: Law enforcement is there to eliminate the attacker, not to evacuate people or cater to wounded. Let them do their jobs.

Be alert

Staying alert is key to reducing the threat of an emergency. Program the WSUPD's emergency number — 313-577-2222 — into your phone so you don't have to search for it in the middle of a crisis. We also recommend that all Wayne State University students, faculty and staff sign up for broadcast messaging. You'll receive cellphone and email notifications the instant Wayne State's Crisis Team alerts the university about any potential threat. Sign up at