This is an archive of under Sheriff 33 Alex Villanueva. Click here for more.

Surviving an Active Shooter


“The men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department constantly prepare and train for active shooter events that could harm our communities. In these unpredictable situations, preparation is key. With this guide, you, too, can familiarize yourself with the tools that will help you remain calm and respond effectively during a rapidly-evolving active shooter situation. ”

– Alex Villanueva, Sheriff


The safety and well-being of our students and teachers has always been the utmost priority of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Los Angeles County is home to more than 3,000 schools ranging from kindergarten through college. In the wake of the highly publicized tragedies occurring in our Nation’s schools, it is important that law enforcement partner with school administrators to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and campus workers.

Don't wait until it happens. Have a Plan Now!

  • Familiarize yourself with your environment
  • Know your escape routes
  • Designate safe rooms
  • Talk to your co-workers about a preplanned response
  • Keep emergency supplies (first aid kit, food, water, etc.) in every room
  • Identify ways to lock or barricade your area
  • Practice! Practice! Practice!

Information to provide to 911 operators:

911 operator at desk routing calls
  • Location of the shooter
  • Number of shooters
  • Physical description of shooters
  • Number and type of weapons shooter has
  • Number of potential victims at location

When the shooting starts...

People hiding in a room stacking tables agains door


  • Have an escape route and an action plan in mind
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Evacuate, regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Do not attempt to move the wounded
  • Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be located
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Call 911 when you are safe


  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
  • Silence your cell phone (including vibrate mode) and remain quiet and still
  • Lock doors and block entry to your hiding place (use chairs, tables, bookcases, file cabinets, etc.)
  • Shut off lights, stay out of sight and remain calm

Fight for your life

  • If your life is in imminent danger, you may have to fight the attacker
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with as much physical aggression as possible. Meet violence with violence.
  • Improvise weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, books, and anything else you can use as an impact weapon. Do not back down!
  • Commit to your actions. Stand united with others. Your life depends on it!

When the shooting stops...

  • Remain calm and reassure others that help is on the way.
  • Render first aid if necessary, utilizing what you have available.
  • For bleeding control, use first aid kits, towels, shirts, bed sheets, etc. For tourniquets, use power cords, phones cords, ropes, etc.
  • When law enforcement arrives, keep hands visible, spread fingers, leave all personal items behind, and calmly follow their directions.
  • Understand that help may take an extended period of time due to clearing the entire location, but law enforcement WILL come to you.

Preventing these types of tragedies and continuing to maintain a secure learning environment is a goal of law enforcement, schools, and society as a whole. If an incident at a school does occur, you can be assured that LASD personnel will respond rapidly, efficiently, and decisively.


Available Transcripts:

Emergency: 9-1-1 (You may have to dial ‘9’ first)

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department: (213) 229-1700 (Recorded Information)

Department of Mental Health (DMH) Access Center: (800) 854-7771

DMH Psychiatric Mobile Response Team: (213) 351-2813