Active Shooter Safety Guidelines

The Harvard University Police Department is committed to providing training to community members on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter scenario. While reports of violent crime at Harvard are infrequent, no environment is immune from the threat of an active shooter. Since  most active shooter incidents are over within minutes, students, faculty, and staff must be prepared to react quickly to keep themselves safe until first responders arrive.

These situations are unpredictable. However, there are a few steps that one can take immediately. As these situations evolve quickly, quick decisions could mean the difference between life and death. If you are in harm’s way, you will need to decide rapidly on the safest course of action based on the scenario that is unfolding before you.


In an active shooter situation, you should quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. You should:

  1. Run: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
  2. Hide: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where an active shooter is less likely to find you.
  3. Fight: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate an active shooter.

Please review the safety video below for more information on responding to an active shooter:


To access the Harvard University Police Department's Active Shooter Safety Guidelines please click on the image below.

Active Shooter Safety Guidelines

If you are interested in arranging a presentation on the Harvard University Police Department's Active Shooter Safety Guidelines, please contact Steven G. Catalano, the Assistant Director for Compliance, at 617-495-9225 or by email at .