Active Threat Preparedness

The below information is handed out by SLAC as a trifold brochure. Copies are also available in the SLAC Security Office in Building 053 VUE Center.

Active Threat Preparedness brochure

Active Threat

Guidance on how to respond to an active threat/shooter situation and react when law enforcement responds.

Personnel safety and security is a top priority at SLAC. In the unlikely event of an active threat to your safety as a result of a person using deadly force, the information in this brochure could save your life. You may also find this information useful for other public locations.

What Is "Active Threat"?

“Active threat” situations include incidents in which there is an individual (or individuals) actively attempting to harm or kill people in a confined and populated area. This is most commonly through the use of firearms, but could also include bladed weapons, explosives, or other devices.

Active threat situations often start with targeted individuals, but expand to include randomly selected victims. These are often unpredictable events that evolve rapidly and usually require law enforcement to end them.

How Do I Prepare?

Secure Your Area

  • Familiarize yourself with your work space, your surroundings, your building — be aware of your environment
  • Know the locations of exits and take note of at least two in any facility, building or room you visit
  • Know how to barricade or “lock down” in your workspace
  • Know how to block visibility into your area
  • Know how to lock or barricade access to your area from the inside
  • Think about how you would take down an active shooter if you had to – what could you use as a weapon (fire extinguisher, chair, etc.)?

What To Do:  Run — Hide — Fight

The current recommendation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is to Run, Hide, Fight.


  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Keep your hands visible so law enforcement knows you are not the perpetrator
  • Tell others to come with you, but don’t delay if others don’t agree to follow
  • Do not stop to move the wounded
  • Prevent others from entering the area that active shooter may still be in


  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
  • Shooters are usually looking for easy victims; create barriers between yourself and the threat by blocking entry to your hiding place and locking the doors
  • If the door/windows have blinds, close them
  • Silence your cell phone, but call 911 – if you can’t speak, leave the line open
  • Turn off lights
  • Use any space in which you can hide (bathrooms, conference rooms, closets)
  • Do not come out of hiding until you can confirm that law enforcement is present


  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
  • Control the weapon and then control the shooter
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with physical aggression like your life depends upon it
  • Use improvised weapons; throw things at the shooter; this buys time
  • Work as a team, but take the lead if people hesitate

What Not to Do

  • Do not pull fire alarms - shooters may use this technique to get victims into one area
  • Do not freeze - instead move to run, move to leave, or move to defend yourself

When Law Enforcement Arrives...

  • Follow instructions; your life may depend on it
  • Put down any items in your hands (bags, jackets, etc.)
  • Raise hands and spread fingers; keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or directions when evacuating

The first step every SLAC employee must take to prepare for an active threat:

Register with SLAC911 (AlertSU)

Stanford’s AlertSU is an emergency notification system used to communicate time-sensitive information during an emergency event affecting the university. It is a mass notification system that sends messages via SMS text message, email and/or phone to the university community. SLAC911 is included as a subset of the AlertSU system. Authorized individuals from SLAC or Stanford will utilize the SLAC911 system to issue an immediate notification as soon as an active threat is recognized.

All employees should follow instructions in the website below to make sure they are registered to receive SLAC911 notifications. Everyone is encouraged to register multiple numbers, emails in the system.


Contact SLAC Security and Emergency Management Department at (link sends e-mail) for more information.

In an Emergency: dial 911 then x5555 (650-926-5555)

Important Links

Video by Department of Homeland Security

Video by the FBI