Active attacker preparedness

Despite the best attempts to stay vigilant, active shooter incidents regrettably occur at public locations throughout the United States with increasing frequency. While you're statistically more likely to be struck by lightning than to encounter an active shooter, it is always best to be prepared.

The Wayne State University Police Department prides itself on its ability to respond quickly to on-campus emergencies. However, we all have a role to play in our personal and collective safety, and there are things that you can do during these life-threatening situations to improve your survival chances before police arrive.

The following resources provide an opportunity to learn actions that will help you remain safe in the event of an active attacker.

Active attacker safety tips

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 is 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 and 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, 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.

Once 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 tend to those 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.

If you see something, say something 

Many active shooters displayed suspicious behavior in the days, weeks and months preceding an incident. If you observe suspicious behavior while on campus or have concerns about an individual, contact 313-577-2222 to file a report.