NewsLocal News


What to do during an active-shooter situation

Posted at 12:16 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-08 18:59:13-05

NEW YORK — In lieu of a mass shooting at a California bar that left 13 people, including the gunman, dead, and other recent shootings across the nation, the NYPD on Thursday reminded the public of suggested safety tips in the event they are in an active-shooter situation.

Individuals are advised to call 911 and give the operator the following information as calmly as possible:

  • Location of the incident (be as specific as possible).
  • Your name.
  • Your exact location.
  • Number of shooters, location they were last seen and direction traveled.
  • Physical description of the shooter.
  • Number of victims and their locations; If possible, give a brief description of injuries.
  • Whether or not you heard explosions in addition to the gunshots.
  • Description of any detected suspicious devices located.

When met with police, victims are told to keep their hands out and empty, open and above their heads.

  • Do not carry packages or items that can be confused as a weapon or device.
  • Do not attempt to run toward or grab an officer.
  • Resist any urge to make sudden movements.
  • The officers' primary mission is to neutralize the shooter.
    • If you're injured, officers may initially pass you, but they will return.
  • Once evacuated, be prepared to be detained for further questioning.
  • Depending on the scene, threat and size of the facility, it may take hours for the officers to clear the premise and find you. Remain calm, quiet and alert.

Remember “ABC”: Avoid. Barricade. Confront.


  • Evacuate the building immediately if it can be done in a safe manner.
  • Do not carry personal belongings with you, and avoid elevators and escalators, if possible.
  • If in a high-rise building and the shooter is below, ascend as many floors as possible. When you reach a safe area, secure the location and move away from the entranceway. If the shooter is above you, move down and out of the building.
  • When evacuating in a stairwell, stay pressed to the wall so responding officers will have room to ascend quickly and safely.


  • If possible, move to a central and secure area of the building.
  • Locate an area with ballistic cover — think big: soda machines, copy machines, etc.
  • Block the door with large, heavy objects to make entry difficult: Desks, tables, furniture, etc.
  • Remain quiet and silence your phone.


  • Only engage with an active shooter as a last resort.
  • Attempt to quickly overpower the attacker with force in the most violent manner; use improvised weapons if available, such as a coat rack, table, scissors, etc.
  • If in a group, work collectively to overcome the shooter.
  • Unless he/she is stopped, the attacker will continue shooting.

The Department of Homeland Security defines active shooters as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”


Twelve people were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. The gunman was later found dead at the scene. Among those fatally shot was a sheriff's sergeant, who was the first officer inside the door.

A Ventura County Sheriffs officer stands near a vehicle near the Borderline Bar and Grill, where a mass shooting occurred on Nov. 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, California. At least twelve people have died, including a Ventura County Sheriffs Department sergeant, plus the gunman. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The gunman, identified by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department as Ian David Long, arrived at the dance bar wearing all black with a hood over his head and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations at the scene. He first fired on a person working the door, then appeared to open fire at random at the people inside, officials said.

Late last month, 46-year-old Robert Bowers opened fire during a baby naming at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people. Police said Bowers rallied against a Jewish refugee advocacy group prior to the Oct. 27 attack and allegedly made anti-Semitic statements after his arrest.

A gunman also opened fire at a Florida yoga studio last Friday, killing two people and injuring five others, before turning the gun on himself.

To report any suspicious activity, call 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233).

Associated Press contributed to this report.