Teaching Students What To Do During An Active Shooting Situation


In light of recent events, discussing an active shooting situation with students is essential to promote safety and preparedness. While we hope that such events never occur, it is vital for students to understand how to react properly in case they find themselves in such a situation. This article aims to provide educators with a guideline on teaching students what to do if they encounter an active shooter in their school.

  1. Situational Awareness

Begin by teaching your students the importance of situational awareness. Encourage them to pay attention to their surroundings and listen for any unusual noises or activity. Make them understand that if they hear something suspicious, they should trust their instincts and take action instead of waiting for confirmation from others.

  1. The Run, Hide, Fight Approach

Teach them the “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol created by the Department of Homeland Security. This strategy emphasizes the three possible actions during an active shooting situation:

– Run: If possible, evacuation is the best way to get out of harm’s way. Students should know exits and escape routes from all areas of the school.

– Hide: If running is not an option, students should hide in secure locations like locked rooms or closets. Teach them about effective barricading techniques and remind them to turn off lights and remain quiet.

– Fight: As a last resort and only when their lives are in imminent danger, students must be prepared to fight back against the shooter using any means necessary (e.g., improvised weapons).

  1. Stay Calm and Quiet

Explain the importance of remaining calm during an active shooting situation. Encourage deep breathing exercises that can help control anxiety. Teach your students to mute their cell phones and avoid drawing attention to themselves when hiding.

  1. Communication with Authorities

Inform your students how crucial it is to report an active shooter immediately upon recognizing the threat. Teach them to call 911 and provide clear, concise information about the location of the shooter and any other relevant details.

  1. Encourage Teamwork

Stress the significance of teamwork during an emergency. Teach students to help one another, stay together, and communicate effectively with their classmates and teachers.

  1. Familiarize Students with Emergency Drills

Regularly conduct active shooter drills at school to ensure students understand the procedures and know how to respond in a real situation. Encourage them to take these drills seriously and prioritize their preparedness.

  1. Seek Professional Help After an Incident

If an active shooter situation occurs, it is crucial for students and faculty to seek professional help and emotional support to recover from the traumatic event. Offer counseling services and encourage open conversations about their feelings.


Teaching students how to respond during an active shooting situation is a challenging but necessary responsibility for educators. By promoting situational awareness, teaching practical strategies like “Run, Hide, Fight,” and emphasizing the importance of communication and emergency preparedness, schools can create a safer environment for everyone involved

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