Annex 16 - Active Shooter / Physical Threat

A.    Situation

It is conceivable that a threat may present itself at Binghamton University that requires students, staff, faculty and guests to take protective measures to avoid harm.  These measures may involve members of the campus community isolating themselves from the threat.  The nature of the threat will determine the actions that will have the highest likelihood of success (i.e. lock down, evacuation, etc.).

B.    Active Shooter

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.  Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation:

    • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
    • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
    • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
    • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
    • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down.  When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.
    • Call 911 when it is safe to do so

C.     Lockdown

A total physical “Lockdown” of the Binghamton University campus is not a reasonable expectation for students, staff, faculty, or emergency responders.  The large campus contains thousands of occupants, many buildings and includes hundreds of exterior doors.  There is no quick or effective method of locking all doors and/or moving the entire campus community to a secure location.

At any time there is a significant security concern, New York State University Police will make every reasonable attempt to immediately increase security on campus.  At the same time emergency personnel are responding to the emergency situation, public safety officials will communicate the hazard to the Binghamton University community via all available and appropriate means.

If you receive an official emergency communication notifying you of a hazardous situation where you must take immediate action to protect yourself, stay as calm as possible and follow these procedures.  Only you will be able to determine the safest course of action that should be taken.

If a security threat is imminent or occurring, Binghamton University personnel will take all reasonable and appropriate actions to minimize the hazard to the campus community.  If the perpetrator(s) is known, campus officials will immediately deactivate the campus ID card(s) to prevent the individual(s) from entering a building/room equipped with card access.  For locations without electronic access control, university officials will make reasonable attempts to secure these doors as quickly as possible.  The nature of the threat may make it unsafe for university personnel to move from door-to-door, thus preventing these locations from being quickly secured.

If you become aware of an active shooter situation, immediately notify University Police at 911 or (607) 777-2222.  Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operators:

    • Location of the active shooter
    • Number of shooters
    • Identity of the shooter(s), if known
    • Physical description of shooter(s)
    • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
    • Number of potential victims at the location

D.    Responding to an Active Shooter / Physical Threat

If you are in a situation where your safety is in question and you are at risk by harm from another person, you must quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.

Run (evacuate)

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the building / area.  Be sure to:

    • Have an escape route and plan in mind
    • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
    • Leave your belongings behind
    • Help others escape, if possible
    • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
    • Keep your hands visible, to prevent confusion to law enforcement
    • Follow the instructions of law enforcement personnel
    • Do not attempt to move wounded people
    • Notify University Police when you are safe
      • 911
      • (607) 777-2222

Hide (lockdown)

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.  Your hiding place should:

    • Be out of the active shooter’s view
    • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. a room with a closed and locked door)
    • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

    • Lock the door, if possible
    • Blockade the door with whatever is available – heavy furniture, door wedges, file cabinets, etc.
    • Cover any windows or openings that have a direct line of sight into the hallway.

If the active shooter is nearby:

    • Lock the door, if possible
    • Line everyone up away from doors and windows.  Use the same wall as the doors if possible.
    • Close windows, shades and curtains.
    • Silence all cell phone and other electronic devices
    • Turn off any source of noise (i.e. radios, televisions, etc.)
    • Hide behind large items (i.e. cabinets, desks)
    • Remain silent
    • Do not sound the fire alarm.  A fire alarm would signal the occupants to evacuate the building and thus place them in potential harm as they attempted to exit.
    • Notify University Police when it is safe to do so
      • 911
      • (607) 777-2222

Fight

If running and hiding are not possible:

    • Remain calm
    • Notify University Police, if possible, to alert hem of the active shooter’s location
      • 911
      • (607) 777-2222
      • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

As a last resort, and only when you life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

    • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
    • Throwing items and improvising weapons
    • Yelling
    • Committing to your actions

E.     How to Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives

Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible.  Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

    • Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4)
    • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment
    • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns
    • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation
    • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety

The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons.  Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers.  These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons.  They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

While law enforcement personnel are still assessing the situation, uniformed security and/or police officers will move through the entire area to ensure the threat is over.  For the safety of you and the officers, you may be handcuffed until the incident details are fully known.

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

    • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
    • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., cell phones, bags, jackets)
    • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
    • Keep hands visible at all times
    • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
    • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
    • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.  Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

F.     Training for an Active Shooter / Physical Threat

To best prepare for an active shooter / physical threat situation, the New York State University Police will educate and train the campus community on this plan.  Training and exercises will prepare Binghamton University students, staff, faculty and guests to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life.

Components of Training Exercises

Preparedness

    • Educate the campus community through workshops, seminars, lectures, and any other opportunity to teach about the hazards of an active shooter / physical threat and ways each person can potentially react to such a situation.
    • Supplement in-person instructional elements with additional information to reinforce the training.  Such material may be distributed in a variety of ways, including but not limited to web pages, social media, printed literature, radio/TV, etc.

Prevention

    • Foster a respectful campus
    • Be aware of indications of violence and take remedial actions accordingly (i.e. If you see something, say something)
    • Recognizing indicators for potential violence by an individual:
      • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
      • Unexplained increase in absenteeism; vague physical complaints
      • Noticeable decrease in attention to appearance and hygiene
      • Depression / withdrawal
      • Resistance and overreaction to changes in policy and procedures
      • Repeated violations of campus policies
      • Increased severe mood swings
      • Noticeably unstable, emotional responses
      • Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without provocation
      • Suicidal; comments about “putting things in order”
      • Behavior which is suspect of paranoia, (“everybody is against me”)
      • Increasingly talks of personal problems
      • Talk of severe financial problems
      • Talk of previous incidents of violence
      • Empathy with individuals committing violence
      • Increase in unsolicited comments about firearms, other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

Exercises

A highly effective way to train your individuals to respond to an active shooter situation is to conduct mock active shooter training exercises.

    • Recognizing the sound of gunshots
    • Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed:
      • Evacuating the area
      • Hiding out
      • Acting against the shooter as a last resort
    • Calling 911
    • Reacting when law enforcement arrives
    • Adopting the survival mind set during times of crisis

G.    Shelter-in-Place

Shelter-in-Place goes into effect during emergency situations where it is important to minimize exposure to outdoor hazards.  These situations may include:

    • Extreme weather
    • Dangerous air quality due to the accidental or intentional release of hazardous materials

Notification

A shelter-in-place order will be signaled by an activation of the Binghamton University emergency notification system.  This may include text messages, emails, voice mail messages, web page banners and any other means of communicating emergency information available to Binghamton University.

Action

If a shelter-in-place order is given, enter the nearest building and move to an interior room away from exterior windows.  First and foremost, do not panic.

Weather Related Emergency:  Avoid windows.  If you are in the path of the storm, go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows.  If your shelter is being impacted by dangerously high winds, crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; cover your head with your hands.  Once the storm has passed, await further instructions from authorized personnel.

Hazardous Air Quality:  Follow instructions from HWS personnel on moving to an upper or lower floor.  Move to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building with access to restrooms, if possible.  If you are able, turn off all ventilation fans and close nearby windows.  Await further instructions from authorized personnel.

 

Last Updated: 2/8/16