Pittsburg State University

Guidelines for Response to Hostile Situations: Hostile Intruders

Emergency Action Plan

Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in not only the number of violent acts committed against members of school campuses across the country, but also in the severity of these acts.  While Pittsburg State University has been fortunate not to have experienced such an occurrence, it is prudent and responsible to set forth guidelines to address the response and management of a hostile intruder incident.  Although the probability of such an incident occurring on campus is minimal, preparedness is important for survival in a hostile intruder encounter.

In the event that a person(s) threatens the personal safety of members of the University community, the Pittsburg State University Police Department suggests the following guidelines for hostile intruder situations.  These guidelines are divided into two sections.  Each of the sections refers to response and management procedures for either a residence hall or a non-residence environment.


Hostile Intruder in a Non-Residence Hall

When a hostile person(s) is actively causing death or serious bodily injury or the threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to person(s) within a building, we recommend the following procedures be implemented.

(This guide refers primarily to academic buildings, however these procedures are equally relevant to administrative buildings and other common buildings on campus)

  • Faculty should immediately lock or barricade the students and themselves in a classroom not occupied by the hostile person(s).  If possible, cover any windows or openings that have a direct line of sight into the hallway.
  • If communication is available, call 911.
  • DO NOT sound the fire alarm.  This would signal the occupants to evacuate the building and thus place them in potential danger as they attempted to exit.
  • Lock the windows and close blinds or curtains.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Turn off lights and all audio equipment.
  • Try to remain as calm as possible.
  • Keep everyone together.
  • Keep classrooms secure until police arrive and instructions are given.
  • If not in a classroom, try to get to a classroom or office.
  • Stay out of open areas and be as quiet as possible.
  • If caught in an open area such as a hallway or lounge, you must decide what to do.  This is a very crucial time and it can possibly mean life or death.
  • You can try to hide, but make sure it is a well-hidden space or you may be found as the intruder moves through the building looking for victims.
  • If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running, then do so.  If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line.  Use trees, vehicles, and other objects to block you from the view of intruders.  When away from the immediate area of danger, summon help any way you can and warn others.
  • If the person(s) are causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
  • Your last option if caught in an open area in a building may be to fight back.  This is dangerous, but depending on your situation, this could be your only option.
  • If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey all commands and do not look the intruder in the eyes.
  • Once police arrive, obey all commands.  This may involve your being handcuffed, or keeping your hands in the air.  This is done for safety reasons and once circumstances are evaluated, the police will give you further directions.


Hostile Intruder(s) in a Residence Hall

When a hostile intruder is actively causing deadly harm or the imminent threat of deadly harm or serious bodily injury within the residence hall, we recommend the following procedures be implemented:

  • Lock yourself in your room unless the hostile intruder(s) is in your room.
  • If communication is available, call 911.
  • If away from your room, join others in a room that can be locked.
  • DO NOT stay in the open hallway.
  • DO NOT sound the fire alarm.  This would signal the occupants in the rooms to evacuate the building, thus placing them in potential harm while attempting to exit.
  • Barricade yourself in your room with desks, beds or anything you can push against the door.
  • Lock your window and close blinds or curtains.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Turn all lights and audio equipment off.
  • Try to stay calm and be as quiet as possible.
  • If for some reason you are caught in the open such as hallways or lounge areas, you must decide what to do.  This is a very crucial time and your actions could mean life or death.
  • You can try to hide, but make sure it is a well hidden space or you may be found as the intruder moves through the dorm.
  • If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running then do so.  If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line.  Keep any objects possible between you and the hostile person while inside the building.  Once outside, do not run in a straight line and use trees, vehicles or any type object to block your view from the residence hall as you run.  When away from the immediate area of danger, summon help any way you can and warn others.
  • If the person(s) are causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
  • The last option you have if caught in an open area may be to fight back.  This is dangerous, but it may be your last option.
  • If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey all commands and do not look the intruder in the eyes.
  • Once the police arrive, obey all commands.  This may involve you being handcuffed or made to put your hands in the air.  This is done for safety reasons and once circumstances are evaluated by the police, they will give further instructions.


Hostile Intruder(s) on the Grounds of the University

When a hostile person(s) is actively causing death or serious physical injury or the threat of imminent death or serious physical injury to person(s) on the Pittsburg State University grounds, we recommend the following procedures be implemented:

  • Run away from the threat as fast as possible.
  • Do not run in a straight line.
  • Use vehicles, trees, bushes or anything that could possibly block you from view of the hostile person(s) while you are running.
  • If you can get away from the immediate area of danger, summon help and warn others.
  • If you decide to hide, take into consideration the area in which you are hiding.  Will I be found here?  Is this really a good spot to remain hidden?
  • If the person(s) are causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
  • The last option you have if caught in an open area outside may be to fight back.  This is dangerous, but depending on the situation this could be your only option.
  • If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, do not look the intruder in the eyes and obey all commands.
  • Once the police arrive, obey all commands.  This may involve being handcuffed or made to put your hands in the air.  This is done for safety reasons, and once the circumstances are evaluated by the police they will give you further instructions.


This guide cannot cover every possible situation that could occur, but it is a tool that can help to reduce injuries or deaths if put into action as soon as a situation develops.  Time is the most important factor in the optimum management of a hostile intruder situation.


(August 2004)