A University of Alabama police vehicle.

Reacting to an Active Threat

The University of Alabama Police Department is trained to handle any emergency that may occur on campus, including active threats. An active threat is any incident that by its deliberate nature creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to the campus community. The most common example of an active threat is an active shooter.

If an active threat occurs on campus, you will receive a UA Alert with information. However, don’t wait for a UA Alert to act. If you see someone on campus with a weapon, or if you hear gunshots, call UAPD at 205-348-5454 or 911 as soon as it is safely possible. Police officers will respond immediately.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, meaning you have little time to act. Each situation is different, and there is no single procedure that will work to protect you in all circumstances. Always be aware of your surroundings and quickly determine the best way to protect yourself. Follow your instincts.

Here are some suggestions on how to respond if an active shooter is in your building.


If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to leave the building.

  • Know where the exits are located.
  • Leave whether anyone else follows you.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others get out, if possible.
  • Don’t let others enter the building.
  • Call 205-348-5454 or 911 when you are safe.


If you can’t leave the building, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you.

  • Get out of the shooter’s view.
  • Find a hiding place that will provide protection for you if shots are fired in your direction. Cabinets and desks are possible hiding places.
  • Lock the door to your office or room if possible.
  • Use heavy furniture to block the door.
  • Silence your cell phone and remain quiet and calm.
  • If you can’t speak, text 911.


As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, make a plan to fight the shooter.

  • Yell.
  • Act as aggressively as possible.
  • Throw items and improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.

Watch the video below to learn more about what to do in an active shooter situation and how police will respond. UAPD offers Run, Hide, Fight training to classes, faculty and staff groups, and student organizations upon request. To request the training, email ua.police@ua.edu.

Safety Reminder: UA Alert System Test

The University will test its emergency notification systems, including UA Alerts, the public address system and digital signage Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 11:55 a.m. Make sure you are receiving UA Alerts on your cell phone during this month’s test.