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Cabrini students on campus, next to an Emergency call box

Active Shooter Emergencies

If you become aware that an active shooter incident is occurring near you, either because you hear actual gunfire or have been told about such an occurrence by another person or through Cabrini’s Emergency Notification System, your main focus should be on quickly determining the best way to protect your life.

If you are outdoors and the incident is occurring in your hearing or vicinity:

  • RUN! if it is safe to do so, and move far away until you are in a safe location; or
  • Take shelter inside the nearest building.

If you can’t safely get away from the threat because of its proximity to you or the lack of a nearby building, HIDE as best you can or TAKE COVER behind any physical object that can provide a shield for you (a large tree, wall, dumpster, trash receptacle, etc.)

If you are in the building where the shots were heard:

  • GET OUT! – RUN – EVACUATE! If this is the best strategy at the moment and you can do so safely without running into the line-of-fire or encountering the shooter.

Leave your belongings (backpack, books, purse, etc.) behind. They can be replaced, you can’t be.

  • HELP OUT - Help others escape, and warn people not to enter an area where the active shooter may be.

As you exit the building, keep your arms raised above your head and keep your hands visible to responding police officers.

  • HIDE OUT - If you can’t evacuate safely. Hide in an area where you are well protected and out of the shooter’s view.
  • SPREAD OUT - If there’s sufficient space. Don’t bunch together. Stay low to the floor.
  • KEEP OUT - To prevent the shooter from entering your hiding place, lock the door, if possible; block entry by using heavy items to barricade the door (e.g., copier machines, desks, heavy bookshelves, etc.); close, cover, and move away from exterior and interior windows.

Remain quiet. Silence your cell phone. Advise everyone in the room to remain calm.

FIGURE OUT - If you can safely do so without revealing your location, call 911 (dial 9 first from campus phones) and provide information that can assist responding police officers, e.g., the last known location of the shooter, the number and physical descriptions of the shooters, the number and types of weapons being used (if you can determine), the number and location of any victims, your exact location.

  • TAKE ACTION – RESIST – FIGHT! As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to incapacitate the shooter.

Act with physical aggression. Throw items (books, chairs, fire extinguishers, etc.) at the shooter if possible.

Yell! Commit fully to your actions. Don’t hesitate or hold back, because your life and the lives of others are at stake.

*From a campus phone, you must dial 9 before dialing 911.


Over the past several years, our nation has experienced a growing trend of mass violence committed by individuals.

These episodes have come to be termed "active shooter" incidents and are unique in that the behavior of the perpetrators is very different from that typically associated with other violent behaviors.

Suspect(s) generally begin to shoot at numbers of people without warning. The motives for these behaviors can range from rage and vengeance to mental dysfunction.

The incidents experienced across the country suggest that the traditional police response involving containment, isolation, and negotiation may be inadequate.

Unlike most criminals, active shooters are likely to continue to use deadly physical force until intervention occurs or until the shooter decides to stop. The active shooter concept represents a shift in police response tactics, equipment needs, and command protocol.

These situations require the initial police responders arriving on the scene to have the authority and the capability to take action without waiting for command staff or for the arrival of specialty units such as SWAT or crisis negotiators.

The purpose of this policy is to set forth standards for unarmed response to active shooters by Public Safety Officers.

Careful and systematic response to such incidents is critical to containing offenders and reducing causalities. There are scenarios that require immediate action and rapid deployment of armed police personnel prior to the arrival of any police tactical team.

In these cases delayed deployment could have catastrophic consequences. These scenarios often involve an ongoing "shots fired” or downed officer/citizen rescue.

It may also necessitate the immediate and rapid deployment of external law enforcement personnel to contain and prevent the escape of an armed and dangerous person(s).

Policy and Procedure 
It is the responsibility of the Cabrini University Department of Public Safety to protect life by any legal means possible consistent with their training and equipment capabilities.

Public Safety Officers responding to an active shooter incident will accomplish this goal by immediately using any legal means at their disposal to make contact with the active shooter and stop the action if such can be accomplished without endangering any officers.

The prioritization of activities, in order of importance, is (may be concurrent): 

  1. Stop the active shooter.
  2. Rescue the victims.
  3. Provide medical assistance.
  4. Preserve the crime scene.

Actions of First Response Officers
Public Safety Officers subject to attack should make personal safety their primary consideration.

If not injured or incapacitated, they should remove themselves (and their patrol vehicle) from the immediate vicinity of an active shooter incident to a location of cover and, if possible, a location suited to initial security of the outer perimeter and appropriate for establishing a Field Command Post.

The Public Safety Officer shall immediately inform the Department of Public Safety dispatcher of the incident, providing precise information so that the necessary police, medical, etc., response can be initiated.

The individual Public Safety Officer should not attempt to apprehend the offender(s) unless circumstances indicate apprehension can be reasonably made.

Public Safety Officers should be directed toward sealing off the area from pedestrians and vehicular traffic, containing the incident by establishment of an inner perimeter, and if possible, evacuation of the area.

  • Public Safety Officers should attempt to obtain as much intelligence as possible.
  • The area should be actively monitored until the Radnor Police arrive.

The Department of Public Safety will assist the Radnor Police with perimeter security, evacuation, identification of victim(s), and serve as liaison for further requests.

Actions of Public Safety Dispatcher

  • Call 911 (dial 9 first from campus phones) and follow-up as necessary to ensure that police and emergency services are responding and have the appropriate information.
  • Notify the Director of Public Safety and/or the on-duty supervisor.
  • Attempt to keep callers calm and assured.

Actions of Individuals Outside

  • Do not approach the person with the weapon.
  • Move immediately to a safe location if you can.
  • Notify others of the danger as you leave the area.
  • Call 911 (dial 9 first from campus phones) and/or the Department of Public Safety at 610.902.8111 (or 8111 for campus phones) and inform them of the situation.
  • Do not re-enter the area, and take steps to prevent others from doing so until authorities arrive.
  • Once in a safe area, do not leave unless a Police Officer escorts you out.
  • Remain as calm and as quiet as you can.
  • Do not attempt to rescue others unless you have been trained, or can reach them in a safe manner.
  • Above all, do not endanger yourself.

Actions of Individuals Inside

If possible, exit the building as quickly as possible.

If unable to safely exit the building:

  • Clear the hallway immediately, and/or
  • Remain inside a locked or barricaded room.
  • Stay away from all windows.
  • Remain quiet and calm.

Evacuate the room only when uniformed Police Officers have arrived. 

Actions if Shooter is in a Classroom or Office

If possible, call 911 (dial 9 first from campus phones) and/or the Department of Public Safety at 610.902.8111 (or 8111 for campus phones) and advise them of the situation.

If you cannot speak without revealing your location to an armed subject, leave the line open so that the Public Safety dispatcher or 911 emergency operator can hear what is going on.

Use common sense. If you are hiding and flight is impossible, attempts to negotiate with the individual may be successful.

Attempting to overcome the individual with force is a last resort that should only be initiated in extreme circumstances.

If the shooter exits your area and you are able to escape, leave the area immediately or barricade yourself inside using desks, chairs or other heavy objects.

Do not rely on walls or doors to be sufficient protection from bullets.

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