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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Active Shooter Situations


An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.


  • Victims are selected at random
  • The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly
  • Law enforcement is usually required to end the situation

During an active shooter situation or certain other acts of violence:

AVOID starts with your state of mind.

  • Pay  attention to your surroundings.
  • Have an exit plan.
  • Move away from the source of the threat as quickly as possible. 
  • The more distance and barriers between you and the threat, the better.

DENY when getting away is difficult or maybe even impossible. 

  • Keep distance between you and the source. 
  • Create barriers  to prevent or slow down a threat from getting to you.
  • Turn the lights off. 
  • Remain out of sight and quiet by hiding behind large objects and silence your phone.

DEFEND because you have the right to protect yourself. 

  • If you cannot Avoid or Deny  be prepared to defend yourself. 
  • Be aggressive and committed to your actions.
  • Do not fight fairly.  THIS IS ABOUT SURVIVAL.

Call 911 or University Police when it is safe to do so: (315) 267-2222

You can text tips silently to police on the Rave Guardian campus safety app. Download here:

How to respond when law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Keep hands visible at all times and avoid quick movements
  • Provide important information to law enforcement and/or 911:
    • Location of shooter
    • Number of shooters
    • Physical description
    • Number and types of weapons
    • Number of potential victims


(Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security | Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, Texas State University)