Campus Safety @ EIU
There are no absolutes when dealing with an emergency or crisis situation. No one can protect you or provide for your safety and well-being better than you. Being aware of your surroundings, staying alert and reporting suspicious persons and/or incidents can help prevent or lessen the impact of potentially tragic situations.
You have options such as to flee or fight back to protect yourself and others, but there are risks involved with these actions. We cannot predict exactly how an incident will unfold or how much planning a suspect may have done. In fleeing, your path might directly cross that of the suspect. You or others might be injured if you fight back. But also by remaining or not fighting back, you might be in even more danger. Circumstances should dictate what your response should be. If you flee, then keep in mind that this could be the goal of the suspect and an ambush is planned. If you fight back, consider if it is necessary at the moment (Is the danger imminent?), or consider otherwise if it is a hostage situation and a chance for escape might present itself later. The immediate actions of the suspect might indicate that rushing him or her in numbers might be the only way to reduce the amount of damage that might otherwise occur.
Our recommendation is to base your decision on the level of the threat. Our primary goal is the same as yours -- to get you out safely! Lock the door and take cover behind whatever furniture you can find. Stay away from doors and windows. Call 911 and identify yourself, your location, the number of people with you and whatever information you can give about the incident and the suspect(s). Silence, but do not turn off, your cell phone, and wait for help.
The University Police train in active shooter response and help will arrive as soon as possible. We will not necessarily know who is friend or foe, so you should immediately follow any directives given to you by officers. We are also a part of a local Crisis Response Team (SWAT). We train and work with the other local departments, and they would most likely respond to assist us with such situations.
Again, reporting suspicious incidents and persons is essential to decreasing the amount of time it takes for the police to respond. We would rather be called to check out something that turns out to be nothing, than to be called after something occurs.