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Education Playing it Safe: Encountering a Hostile Intruder

Monday, February 19, 2018

Responding in a way that keeps everyone safe 

It is an undeniable fact that shootings and other violence are still taking place in schools around the world, with injuries and sometimes fatalities occurring as a result.

However, your reaction and ability to communicate well in the event that you encounter a hostile intruder in your building can mean saving lives. There are a few things you should consider carefully now so that if an incident does arise, you are fully prepared to protect yourself and those around you.

Escape or Hide

If you know the intruder’s location and you can confidently escape the area, this is your safest option. If you run, do not run in a straight line; instead, hide behind objects that might block the intruder’s view of you. When this is not possible, immediately gather other faculty and students into a classroom or office, lock the door and cover the windows.

Alert Authorities

Call 911 from an office phone or a cell phone. If the operators are overwhelmed with other calls, try calling local police or other emergency numbers. Report:


  • Your specific location
  • The number of people you have with you
  • Any injuries
  • Any information you might have about the intruder


If you know what the intruder looks like, give the most accurate description possible. Try to stay as quiet as possible while doing this: silence all cell phones and keep everyone calm and out of sight, away from windows and doors.

Cooperate with Police

Do not leave your locked room until the police release you, and never enter into a hallway or open area. Before trying to rescue someone outside of the room, consider whether you might endanger the others in your group by doing so. When the first authorities arrive, they may not be able to tend immediately to any injured individuals – be patient and when you are able to speak with authorities, give them as much information about the situation as you can.

Be Prepared

Program the phone numbers of local authorities into your phone so that they are easily accessible should an incident occur. Visualize the specific actions you would take in the event of an emergency so that you are able to react quickly and without hesitation when lives are on the line.

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Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.