University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Community Response to an Active Threat Incident

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Police Department
Community Response / Active Threat Incident

Purpose: Recommended safety measures for on-going and immediate life threatening incidents involving hostile suspects.


  • An individual must use his/her own discretion about when he/she must engage a hostile suspect for survival.
  • Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with the suspect except for self-protection.
  • Contact authorities as soon as it is safe to do so. Call 911; or Campus Police at 814-269-7222 or 814-269-7005. Have these numbers programmed into your cell phone!
    • Report what is occurring, include the number of suspects, the location of the suspect(s), race/gender, physical features, clothing description, type of weapon(s), suspect’s identity (if known).
    • Report the number of injured if known and the types of injuries.
  • Make the determination of whether to run, hide, or fight AND COMMIT TO IT.
    • Run: if there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate
      • Evacuate whether others agree to or not
      • Leave belongings behind
      • Help others escape if possible
      • Prevent others from entering area
    • Hide: if evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide
      • Lock and/or blockade the door
      • Silence your cell phone
      • Hide behind large objects
      • Remain very quiet
      • Hiding place should: be out of suspects view; provide protection from shots fired in your direction; not trap or restrict your options for movement
    • Fight: as a last resort and only if your life is in danger
      • Attempt to incapacitate the suspect
      • Act with physical aggression
      • Improvise weapons
      • Commit to your actions

When Law Enforcement Arrives

  • Remember that the police will act first to neutralize the threat
  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid pointing or yelling
  • Know that help for the injured is on its way

Last Reviewed: March 17, 2008