Responding to an Active Shooter

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Run, Hide, Fight

Chief of Amherst College Police John Carter talks about what to do and how to respond in the event of an active shooter.

In a quickly unfolding situation involving an individual with a gun, immediately leave the area and call the Amherst College Police Department (ACPD) at 413.542.2111. DO NOT attempt to disarm someone with a gun. For those in an area with a dangerous person, remember: RUN – HIDE – FIGHT.


  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Keep your hands in plain sight for your safety and the safety of responding police.


  • Hide in an area, room or closet out of the shooter’s view.
  • Lock the doors. If the door cannot be locked, block or wedge the door shut from inside.
  • Move away from windows and pull down blinds/shades.
  • Leave cell phones on, but turn the volume off so you can continue to receive messages.
  • Do not open the door for anyone identifying themselves as a police officer or other rescuer. The police will gain entrance using keys or after an “All Clear” is sent.


  • As a last resort, when your life is in danger, FIGHT!
  • Any object or substance—such as coffee, chemicals, pens and pencils, furniture—can be used as a weapon to incapacitate a shooter.