Active Assailant Situations

Trigger warning: In this FBI training video, customers at a bar are caught in an active shooter event. By employing the run, hide, and fight tactics, as well as knowing the basics of rendering first aid to others, they are prepared, empowered, and able to survive the attack.



The Central Oregon Community College Campus Safety Department works with local law enforcement agencies to ensure the most appropriate contingency planning for potential critical incidents on-campus. However, COCC maintains campuses which are open to the public and where there is limited control over individuals on-campus. The following information is intended to provide faculty, staff, and students with general instructions to be followed, in the event of an active assailant incident. 

An active assailant is a person who is attempting to harm or kill people in a populated area. In most cases, assailants use a firearm and have no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate steps to mitigate harm to potential victims.

In general, response to an active assailant will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. Try to remain calm and use these guidelines to help plan a strategy for survival. If you witness an armed individual on campus at any time, immediately call 9-1-1 (9-9-1-1 from a campus phone).

Prepare in Advance

Prepare a plan of action in advance by determining your escape route(s) and know where and how to evacuate. Discuss your plan with co-workers or peers in your area. Refer questions to the Campus Safety Department.

Assailant is OUTSIDE of Building:

  • Turn off all lights, close blinds, and close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Move to an area in the building away from windows or where the assailant cannot see you from the exterior of the building. If safe to do so, remain there until an "all clear" instruction is given by authorized personnel.
  • If you can do so safely, get everyone around you on the floor and out of the line of fire.

Assailant is INSIDE of Building:

  • If it is possible to flee the area safely and avoid danger, do so.
  • As soon as it is safe, call the police by dialing 9-1-1 (9-9-1-1 from a campus phone)
  • If it is unsafe to flee your building, lock all doors to secure yourself in a safe space; if you can do so safely, get everyone on the floor and out of the line of fire. Remain silent. If safe to do so, remain there until an "all clear" instruction is given by an authorized, known voice. If you do not recognize the voice, do not change your location and remain where you are. Unknown or unfamiliar voices may be the assailant.

If the Active Assailant is in Your Immediate Area/or Confronting You:

  • Use your best judgment. If hiding or flight is impossible,consider attempting to negotiate with the individual. Trying to overtake the assailant is a last resort that should only be initiated in the most extreme circumstances.
  • Remember, there may be more than one active assailant.
  • In case you must flee, do not go to the normal gathering site for your building. Get as far away from the scene as possible and then contact authorities. Do not attempt to remove injured people as you may injure them further; instead, leave victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.

If You Find Yourself in an Unsecured OR Open Area Such as a Parking Lot:

  • Immediately seek protection and put something between you and the assailant. Evaluate your options. Do you know where the assailant is? Is escape your best option? Is escape immediately available? If you decide to flee, run in an erratic pattern such as"zig-zagging".
  • Contact 911 once you have reached an area of safety away from the assailant.

In ALL Cases:

  • To assist police, stay calm and patient to prevent any interference with police operations. If you know where the suspect is, or have his or her description, tell the police. Rescue teams will follow shortly to aid you and the others.
  • Do not to make any changes to the incident scene as law enforcement authorities will be conducting a criminal investigation later.
  • If you encounter police officers, keep your hands empty and in plain view at all times. Do not speak to the officers until they speak to you. Listen to their instructions and do exactly what they say. If you are evacuating, carry nothing that could be mistaken for a weapon.