University of Iowa

Emergency Information

Active Shooter or Gunman

If you hear what sounds like gunshots or popping, immediately assume they are gunshots and don’t investigate.

If the shooter is outside your building

  • If possible, go to a room that can be locked.
  • Close and lock all the windows and doors.
  • Turn off all the lights.
  • If possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.
  • One person in the room should call 911.

If the shooter is in your building

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked
  • If not, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building.
  • If the room cannot be locked, barricade the door with heavy furniture such as desks, tables, and bookcases if possible.
  • If you determine that escape is possible, run and attempt to alert others as you exit the area/building. As you exit, warn others from entering the area/building of danger.

If the shooter is in your classroom

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to the shooter’s location.
  • If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity for escape or hiding, attempt to shield yourself with any available object (i.e., desk, book bags, computers, etc.).
  • It might be possible to negotiate with the shooter.
  • If you and others decide to make an attempt to overpower the shooter, realize this will involve significant risk and cannot be accomplished half-heartedly.
  • No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter.
  • Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.
  • Do not try to drive off campus until advised it is safe to do so by police or campus administrators; law enforcement authorities will want to speak with you to obtain information.