Active Assailant Awareness

Weapons are prohibited on UMBC’s campus and at all UMBC facilities and grounds.

Call UMBC Police at (410) 455-5555 if you witness a firearm in a prohibited location.

 Click here for immediate response actions if there is an active attack on campus

Use the following information to increase your awareness of potential attacks and improve your readiness.  The threat of an attack on college campuses continues to be a serious concern.  UMBC provides training on active assailant awareness focusing on actions you can take to help escape and survive an attack on or off campus.  The objective of our awareness training is to help you condition yourself to be a SURVIVOR instead of a victim.

Active Assailant Awareness

You must have a strategy to survive the first

3 to 5 critical minutes

of an attack before police arrive

If you think you hear gun shots do not ignore what is happening.

  • In attack, gun shots will sound RAPID, SUCCESSIVE, REPEATING, and LOUD.
  • Call UMBC Police at (410) 455-5555 after you have taken action to stay safe.

If UMBC Police receive reports of an attack on or near campus, expect this alert:

  • Active assailant attack reported on campus. Lockdown your area. Run-Hide-Fight if you are in danger.”
  • This means there is a confirmed threat…take it seriously.
  • Do not expect to be told the location of the attack.  We will send a follow-up alert ASAP…but this may take some time.
  • Lockdown” means deny access to your building, classrooms, work spaces, and living spaces if there are no signs of obvious danger in your immediate area.
  • “Run-Hide-Fight” means take action to escape and survive if there is an obvious threat in your immediate area.
  • If you have received training, remember Avoid – Deny – Defend to improve your ability to escape and survive.

Police Response.

  • An active assailant attack is a complex, chaotic, panic-driven situation.
  • Expect teams and individual armed officers from multiple departments.
  • Police priorities are: 1) stop the attacker; 2) rescue survivors; and 3) clear the area of threat.  They may not stop to help injured while there is an active threat.
  • OBEY all orders from police officers and be compliant.
  • Officers may shout commands and push you to the ground.
  • Put down any items in your hands, even your phone, and always keep hands visible.
  • Remain in areas of safety as instructed by police.  Expect to be held there until the scene is cleared.  Do not leave a safe area until directed.


What you do matters – Condition yourself to be a survivor




What’s the difference?

These survival concepts seem similar…the difference depends on you.

  • RUN – HIDE – FIGHT takes less effort, but is more reactive and fear-based.  These actions may be necessary in the moment to save your life, but they can also be potentially dangerous.
  • AVOID – DENY – DEFEND takes time, effort, and preparedness.  These actions require you to be proactive.  Improve your knowledge and situational awareness to reduce potential danger.


Reactive & Fear-Based

If you have not received training and are unfamiliar with your environment, these actions can save your life.  You must understand understand the risks.

  • You may have to RUN.
    • This is a reflex and instinctive.
    • Running may expose you to the attacker.
  • You may have to HIDE.
    • Find protection, not just concealment.
    • Hiding does not prevent the attacker from accessing you.
  • You have the right to FIGHT back.
    • Don’t rely on strength or luck.
    • Fighting guarantees life-threatening danger.


Proactive & Knowledge-Driven

If you have attended training, you know your environment, and have taken the time to develop a plan, these actions can improve your ability to survive.

  • Know how to AVOID an attacker.
    • Develop situational awareness.
    • Have a plan to stay away from danger.
  • Know how to DENY access.
    • Find a room you can lock.  Do not let the attacker in.
    • Put distance and obstacles between you and the attacker.
  • Know how to DEFEND yourself.
    • Shift your fear to anger.
    • Counterattack as a team.  Be unexpected and violent.

Click here for the training video:  “Surviving an Active Shooter – Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event

  • This video was produced by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University and is presented during UMBC’s Active Assailant Awareness training.
  • The video illustrates how to apply AVOID – DENY – DEFEND during an attack.
  • This is a DRAMATIZED video of a simulated attack.  There is NO graphic imagery.  It does show images of a gunman and the sound of gunshots.


Training and Resources

Survivors must make decisions quickly

Use these guides to learn how you can escape and survive an attack: