Hostile Intruder/Active Shooter


Violent incidents, including but not limited to: acts of terrorism, an active shooter, assaults, or other incidents of workplace violence can occur at any location on Hampden-Sydney College 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 and has not been contained.

These procedures apply in situations in which it is necessary to take shelter in place in one or more Hampden-Sydney College buildings to aid in assuring life safety in violent situations such as those delineated above.

General Guidance

In the event of a violent incident, it is important to take quick and decisive actions to protect as many people as possible as the circumstances unfold. Therefore, upon receipt of an emergency notification, faculty, instructors and staff will lock their classroom or office doors if possible, use desks and other furnishings to barricade doors, direct people to a "safe area" within their classrooms or offices, turn off lights, and remain as quiet as possible to give the appearance that the room is unoccupied. Remain in the secured space until notified by authorities, such as police officers or College officials.  These authorities will advise you what actions should be taken, the location of evacuation routes from the building, or if the situation has been resolved. Attachment A provides specific instructions for faculty, staff, and students in the event of a violent incident.


When a violent incident occurs or a hostile intruder is identified at a Hampden-Sydney College location, the following procedures will be followed.

  1. Any person witnessing a violent incident that threatens lives shall immediately take actions as delineated in Attachment A to protect as many people as possible. Once immediate protective measures have been taken, any person observing the incident should call the Emergency Communications Center at 911 to report it.

  2. If Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police personnel consider the potential hostile intruder to pose a threat of violence, the situation shall be reported to the Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police immediately for additional law-enforcement assistance.

  3. Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police Department personnel will establish Incident Command at the scene.  Incident Command will notify the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police to activate the Incident Management Team. Incident Command coordinates all activities with local and state law enforcement responders and emergency service responders. Depending on the circumstances, it may not be safe to have personnel in exposed positions outside the building(s). Therefore, the location of the Incident Command should be coordinated to ensure safety of all involved in the incident. 

  4. With the arrival of other first responders, Incident Command transfers to Unified Command to include all stakeholders.

  5. The Unified Command will direct available personnel to inform faculty and staff to implement the hostile intruder instructions in Attachment A and to secure affected building(s), if appropriate.

  6. The Hampden-Sydney College Incident Management Team will use available emergency notification systems to notify the College community of the situation.

    1. Hampden-Sydney College Emergency Notification System (ENS) components may include email, text message, phone call - landline and cell, desktop notification, digital signage, social media, and outdoor siren - as deemed appropriate.

  7. The Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police may activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), partially or fully, to provide support to the Unified Command and to coordinate the College's public information function and reporting obligations.

  8. Once the situation has been stabilized and any hostile intruder neutralized, the Unified Commander notifies the Hampden-Sydney College EOC that normal operations can resume, identifies any areas that must remain secured for criminal investigation purposes, and transfers Unified Command back to Incident Command.

  9.  A prolonged situation or one with casualties or fatalities will require additional emergency management resources. In such circumstances, the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police will keep the Hampden-Sydney College EOC activated to the extent necessary to respond to media concerns, provide family assistance, and coordinate other resources necessary to respond and recover from the incident.

  10. Internal as well as external counseling services will be made available, based on circumstances of the event, for students and employees as necessary. Local resources are available for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) assistance. Coordination of these resources is done through the Hampden-Sydney College EOC.

  11. In the event that the incident results in criminal victimization, as defined by the Code of Virginia §19.2-11.01, the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police will request assistance from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Virginia Criminal Injury Compensation Fund. (Note: If activated, these offices will be contacted through the locality's EOC.)

Attachment A - Instructions for Faculty, Students & Staff

The origin of a threat cannot be predicted; assailants in incidents across the nation have been students, employees, and non-students alike. In many cases there were no obvious specific targets and the victims were unaware that they were targets until attacked. Being aware of your surroundings, taking commonsense precautions, and heeding any warning information can help protect you and other members of the community.

The following information will enable you to take appropriate protective actions for yourself and those around you. 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).

Immediate Action

  1. Secure the Immediate Area. Whether a classroom, laboratory, office, restroom, or other space:

    • Lock or barricade the door, if able. Block the door using whatever is available-desks, tables, file cabinets, other furniture, books, 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/her.

      If safe to do so, allow others to seek refuge with you.

  2. Initiate Protective Actions. Take appropriate steps to reduce your vulnerability:

    • Close blinds.

    • Block windows.

    • Turn off radios.

    • Silence cell phones.

    • Place signs in interior doors and windows, but remember the assailant can see these as well.

    • Place signs in exterior windows to identify your location and the location of injured persons.

    • Keep people calm and quiet.

    • After securing the room, people should be positioned out of sight and behind items that might offer additional protection-walls, desks, file cabinets, bookshelves, etc.

  3. Seek Protection in a Secured Area.  If you find yourself in an open area, you are vulnerable and should 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. Report the Incident to Police.  Call the emergency communication center 911. Emergency situations should be reported to Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police Department immediately. You may hear multiple rings-stay on the line until it is answered-do not hang up. Be prepared to provide the communications officer with as much information as possible, such as the following:

    • What is happening?

    • Where you are located, including 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 communications officer can relay your information quickly to responding law-enforcement and emergency personnel. Stay on the line until the communications officer instructs you to hang up. 

  5. Report Specific Information.  Try to note as much as possible about the assailant, including:

    • Specific location and direction of the assailant.

    • Number of assailants.

    • Gender, race/ethnicity, and age of the assailant.

    • Language or commands used by the assailant.

    • 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? Do you know his/her name?

    • What exactly did you hear - e.g., explosions, gunshots, etc.

  6. Assist the Injured. The communications officer will notify law-enforcement and other emergency service agencies, to include fire and rescue personnel. Emergency Medical Service personnel will respond to the site, but will not be able to enter the area until it is secured by law enforcement authorities and determined to be safe. You may have to treat the injured as best you can until the area is secure. Remember basic first aid:

    • For bleeding apply pressure and elevate. Many items can be used for this purpose-e.g., clothing, paper towels, newspapers, etc.

    • Reassure those in the area that help will arrive-try to stay quiet and calm.

  7. Account for People.

    • Instructors verify the names of individuals in their classrooms/laboratories when the event occurs and provide a copy to emergency responders as necessary for accountability purposes.

    • Managers verify the names of individuals in their spaces when the event occurs and provide a copy to campus authorities or emergency responders as necessary for accountability purposes.

  8. Unsecuring the Area.

    • 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 posed by opening the door of a secured area for any reason.

    • Attempts to rescue people should be made only if they can be done without further endangering the persons inside a secured area.

    • Be aware that an assailant may bang on the door, yell for help, or otherwise attempt to entice you to open the door of a secured area.

    • If unsure of the identity of a person requesting access to a secured area, request that some form of identification (e.g., police badge, identification card, etc.) be shown.

    • If there is any doubt about the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area needs to remain secured.

Law-Enforcement Response

The Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police personnel, local police departments and the Virginia State Police have adopted nationally accepted law enforcement response procedures to contain and terminate threats posed by hostile intruders, as quickly as possible. In an emergency situation, Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police personnel will immediately respond to the area, assisted by other local and state law-enforcement agencies, as necessary. Keep in mind:

  1. Police are Responding.  Remember that help is on the way. It is important for you to remember:

    • Remain inside the secure area.

    • Law enforcement will locate, contain, and stop the assailant.

    • The safest place for you to be is inside a secure room.

    • The assailant may not flee when law enforcement enters the building, but instead may target arriving officers.

  2. The Police Will Move Quickly to Eliminate the Threat.  Initial responding police 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 in order to calm them.

    • Once the threat is neutralized, police officers will begin treatment and evacuation.

  3. Evacuation Will be Established When Safe. Responding police officers will establish safe corridors for persons to exit the area.

    • This may be time consuming.

    • Remain in a secure area until instructed otherwise.

    • You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head.

    • You may be searched.

    • You may be required to leave any personal belongings, e.g., backpacks, handbags, etc. to be searched and inventoried by law-enforcement authorities.

    • You may be escorted out of the building by law-enforcement personnel - follow their directions.

    • After evacuation you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc.

    • Once you have been evacuated you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until law-enforcement authorities release the crime scene.