Hostile Intruder/Active Shooter


Violent incidents, including but not limited to: acts of terrorism, an active threat, 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 threat" is a situation in which it is believed ther is a suspect or assailant is engage in activity that 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 an active threat 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 an active threat occurs or a hostile intruder is identified at a Hampden-Sydney College location, the following procedures will be followed:

  1. Any person witnessing an active threat 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 identify an active threat, additional resources will be requested from the County and State.

  3. Consistent with National Incident Management System (NIMS) protocol, Hampden-Sydney College Security and Police Department personnel will establish an Incident Command (IC) structure at the scene.  The Incident Commander 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. Incident Command will notify the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police to activate the Incident Management Team (IMT).

  5. The Incident Management Team is comprised of key College administrators who are responsible for preparing for, responding to, and managing campus emergency incidents. The purpose of the IMT is to provide a coordinated approach to preparing for, responding to, and managing an emergency incident at Hampden‐Sydney College.

  6. With the arrival of additional first responders, Incident Command transfers to a Unified Command structure so that all responding stakeholders are represented.

  7.   Unified Command will establish communication with the College's IMT so that the incident can be effectively managed within the College community.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 IMT public information function and reporting obligations.

  10. Once the situation has been stabilized and any active threat 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.

  11. A prolonged situation or one with casualties may 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, establish family reunification processes and  to coordinate other resources as necessary to respond and recover from the incident.

  12. 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.


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.

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 or other furniture.
  • 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.
  • Keep people calm and quiet.
  • Position people out of sight and behind items that might offer additional protection-walls, desks, file cabinets and bookshelves.

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 threat.
  • Consider trying to escape, if you know where the threat 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 threat, including:

  • Specific location and direction of the threat.
  • 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, such as clothing, paper towels and newspapers.
  • Reassure those in the area that help will arrive-try to stay quiet and calm.

7.      Account for People.

  • Faculty should verify the names of individuals in their classrooms and laboratories when the event occurs and provide a copy to emergency responders.
  • Directors, managers and supervisors should verify the names of individuals in their spaces when the event occurs and provide a copy to campus authorities or emergency responders.

8.      Unsecuring the Area.

  • The threat may not stop until the objective has been achieved 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, Virginia State Police and local police departments 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 end the threat.
  • 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 police 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, such as backpacks and handbags 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, or counseling.
  • Once you have been evacuated you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until law-enforcement authauthorities release the crime scene.