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Active Attack Prevention and Response


The Department of Public Safety emphasizes education and preparedness to help to avoid or minimize injury or death in the unlikely event that an attack occurs on campus. The department will arrange to have police officers provide active attack training to any group, organization, or class upon request.

This training will educate people on the warning signs of an at-risk person, strategies to help to intervene before the at-risk person deteriorates further, and the response of those subject to an attack. Anyone interested in this training can call (231) 591-5000 for arrangements.

Although every active shooter attack is different, there are typically some common themes that the attacks share:

  • Most attackers tell at least one person about their plans before the attack.
  • The attackers have planned and prepared for the attack, including how the attack will end.
  • Most attackers are alone in planning and carrying out the attack.
  • The attackers are seeking the “softest” targets possible, and they plan on maximum damage in a short amount of time.

Based upon this knowledge, to help to prevent an attack, it is helpful to understand some warning signs of an at-risk person that may require immediate attention from the police, faculty, staff, or counseling:

  • Threat of suicide or self-harm
  • Threat of violence, directly or implied
  • Fascination with/asserting ownership of firearms, not consistent with their known history
  • History of violence or behavior obviously insensitive to others
  • Preoccupation with themes of violence
  • Identifying with dangerous individuals, acts, or philosophies
  • Preoccupation with other incidents of publicized violence, especially related to a school or University
  • Intimidating others- frequently confrontational
  • Crossing boundaries- excessive phone calls, emails, etc.
  • Marked academic performance decline
  • Noticeable decline in personal hygiene
  • Notable changes in personality, mood, or behavior
  • An increase in substance abuse
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Thematic writing assignments or drawings that constantly center on killing, violence, or revenge

The following have been recognized as the stages of a typical attack:

  • Fantasy stage - disturbing, hostile, or dark speech, drawings, or writings
  • Planning stage - thoughts become replaced by action, research, surveillance, or the preparation of a manifesto
  • Preparation stage - gathering materials, forewarning friends, training
  • Approach and implementation- the individual executes plan

What to Do if You are Under Attack

If you are dealing with a person who has a weapon or is actively shooting inside of your building:

Run, Hide, or Fight!

Get out!

  1. Know where exits are located.
  2. Leave your belongings, other than your cell phone.
  3. As you are getting out, be prepared to encounter law enforcement - keep your hands visible and follow their commands.

If you cannot get out,

Hide out!

  1. Find a ‘safe room’ if one is available
  2. Hide in an area outside of the shooters view
  3. Turn off lights if possible
  4. If possible, lock the doors and block the entryway to the room
  5. Silence your cell phones

If you cannot hide out, or are discovered,

Take out!

  1. As a last resort when your life is in danger, attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  2. If possible, dial 911 on your cell phone and set it down, keeping the line open
  3. If possible, have others that you are with join forces with you
  4. You are fighting for your life - anything goes! If you or others do not stop this person, they will likely harm you

 Call out!

  1. Call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so
  2. Try to clearly communicate what you see, hear, etc.
  3. At any time, if you are talking with authorities and it is no longer safe to do so because the shooter is nearby, leave the call connected to 911/police
  4. When the crisis is over, do not open a secure area unless you know the police are there, or you can confirm with 911 that the police are in place for you to exit
  5. Remember, the police still do not know who or how many attackers are present. Exit with empty hands, that are in the air. Comply with all commands that the police give you

Please be mindful that there may be students and/or visitors, faculty or staff in your building who have a disability and may need extra assistance to be safe!

Active Shooter Videos

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Ferris 2022 Presentation

Ferris 2022 Presentation

Active Shooter on Campus

Still from video

Active Shooter in the Workplace

Still from video

Flashpoint 2009

Still from video

Last Updated: February 24, 2022