Act of Violence-In Progress

Acts of Violence

If shots are fired, take protective measures. Use your best judgment and follow these actions.


If you are certain you are not within range or in danger of shots fired and exiting the building is possible, the following actions are recommended:

  • Have an escape route in mind. Exit the building immediately.
  • Encourage others to exit the building immediately and do not allow others to enter.
  • Leave belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • When you are safe, call University Police at (360) 650-3911. If you are off campus, call 911.


If evacuation is not possible, the following actions are recommended:

  • Get out of the shooter’s view
  • Go to the nearest room or office and/or hide behind something that may protect you from shots fired in
  • your direction. Lock the door and/or barricade it with heavy furniture.
  • Cover the door windows, if possible.
  • Keep quiet. Silence phones and any other source of noise.
  • Do not answer the door.
  • Call University Police at (360) 650-3911. If you are off campus, call 911.


If you are caught in the immediate area and escape is not possible, as a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter by:

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

How to respond when law enforcement arrives

  • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands, raise hands and spread fingers
  • Avoid pointing, screaming, yelling, and/or making quick movements
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction, proceed in the direction from which officers came

The first officers to arrive will not stop to help injured persons. Teams will come later to treat any injured persons.

Once you have reached a safe location or assembly point, you may 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 the area until law enforcement authorities instruct you to do so.

Additional Resources

Content Warning: The following videos contain material of a sensitive nature, including violence and active shooter situations, that may be triggering for some individuals. 

Students are encouraged to contact Western’s Counseling and Wellness Center, (360) 650-3164 if they feel distressed. Employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program at (877) 313-4455.