Violent incidents, including but not limited to acts of terrorism, an active shooter, assaults, or other incidents of workplace violence, can occur on College grounds or in close proximity with little or no warning. An active shooter is considered to be a suspect or assailant whose activity is immediately causing serious injury or death.
The Hampden-Sydney College Department of Security and Police has adopted nationally accredited law enforcement response procedures to contain and terminate such threats as quickly as possible. The following information regarding law enforcement response will enable you to take appropriate action for yourself. Try to remain calm as your actions will influence others. The following instructions are intended for incidents that are of an emergent nature (i.e. imminent, or in progress).
Actions You Should Take Immediately
1. Secure the Immediate Area. Whether in a classroom, residence hall room, office, or restroom:
- Lock or barricade the door. Block the door using whatever is available, such as desks, tables, file cabinets, other furniture, etc.
- After securing the door, stay behind solid objects away from the door as much as possible.
- If the assailant enters your room and leaves, lock or barricade the door behind him.
- If it is safe for you to do so, allow others to seek refuge with you.
2. Protective Actions. Take appropriate steps to reduce your vulnerability:
- Close blinds.
- Block windows
- Turn off radios and computer monitors.
- Silence cell phones.
- Keep people calm and quiet.
- After securing the room, people should be positioned out of sight and behind items.
3. Open Areas. If you find yourself in an open area, immediately seek protection:
- Put something between you and the assailant.
- Consider trying to escape, if you know where the assailant is and there appears to be an escape route immediately available to you.
- If in doubt, find the safest area available and secure it the best way that you can.
4. Call 911. Emergency situations should be reported to law enforcement by dialing 911. You may hear multiple rings, but stay on the line until it is answered. Do not hang up. Be prepared to provide the 911 operator with as much information as possible, such as the following:
- What is happening.
- Begin by saying, “I’m at Hampden-Sydney.” Next, include the building name and room number.
- Number of people at your specific location.
- Injuries, if any, including the number of injured and types of injuries.
- Your name and other information as requested.
- Try to provide information in a calm, clear manner so that the 911 operator can quickly relay your information to responding law enforcement and emergency personnel.
5. What to Report. Try to note as much as possible about the assailant, including:
- Specific location and direction of the assailant(s).
- Number of assailant(s).
- Gender, race, and age of the assailant(s).
- Language or commands used by the assailant(s).
- Clothing color and style.
- Physical features, e.g., height, weight, facial hair, glasses.
- Type of weapons, e.g., handgun, rifle, shotgun, explosives.
- Description of any backpack or bag.
- Do you recognize the assailant(s)?
- Do you know their name(s)?
- What exactly did you hear (e.g., explosions, gunshots, etc.)?
7. When to Leave.
- The assailant may not stop until his objectives have been met or until engaged and neutralized by law enforcement.
- Always consider the risk of exposure by opening the door for any reason.
- Attempts to rescue people should only be made if it can be done without further endangering yourself or the persons inside the secure area.
- Be aware that the assailant may bang on the door, yell for help, or otherwise attempt to entice you to open the door of a secured area.
- If there is any doubt about the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area needs to remain secured.
- It is best to remain in a secured area until otherwise directed by law enforcement.
What to Expect From Law Enforcement Response
Hampden-Sydney College Police Officers will immediately respond to the area and may be assisted by other law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. The first officers to arrive on 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 (this will not take place until the threat is neutralized and the area is secure). Remember:
1. Help is on the way.
- Remain inside the secure area, so long as it remains safe to do so.
- The safest place for you to be is in a locked/barricaded room.
- Law enforcement will locate, contain, and stop the assailant.
- The assailant may not flee when law enforcement enters the building, but instead may target arriving officers.
2. When law enforcement arrives:
- Follow officers’ instructions.
- Put down any items in your hands, e.g., 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.
3. Injured Persons. Initial responding officers will not treat the injured or begin evacuation until the threat is neutralized and the area is secure.
- You may need to explain this to others to calm them.
- Once the threat is neutralized, officers will assist EMS with treatment and evacuation of injured and other personnel.
4. Evacuation. Responding officers will establish safe corridors for persons to evacuate.
- This may be time consuming.
- Simply follow the directions of law enforcement personnel.
- Remain in secured areas until instructed otherwise.
- You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head.
- You may be searched.
- After evacuation, you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc.