Skip to main content

Attacks In Public Places

Close up of crime scene tape

Attacks In Public Places

Incidents like the shooting at Oxford High School or the Kalamazoo shootings in 2016 show the importance of remaining vigilant, reporting suspicious activity, and having a plan to prevent and respond to an active shooter. Remember: If an active shooter or other attack in a public place should occur, the best thing to do is to "Run, Hide and Fight."

Types of Mass Attacks:

  • Individuals using firearms to cause mass casualties (active shooter).
  • Individuals using a vehicle to cause mass casualties.
  • Individuals using homemade bombs to cause mass casualties.
  • Other methods used in mass attacks may include knives, fires, drones or other weapons.

Be Prepared:

  • Stay alert. Always be aware of your environments and any possible dangers.
  • If you see something, say something to local authorities. That includes suspicious packages, people behaving strangely or someone using strange communications. 
  • Observe warning signs. Signs might include unusual or violent communications, substance abuse, expressed anger or intent to cause harm. These warning signs may increase over time. 
  • Have an exit plan. Identify exits and areas to hide wherever you go, including work, school, and special events. 
  • Learn lifesaving skills. Take trainings such as active shooter trainings, You Are the Help Until Help Arrives, and first aid to assist the wounded before help arrives. 
  • Sign up to receive local emergency alerts and register your work and personal contact information with any work sponsored alert system.

Survive During:

Run to Safety

  • Seek Safety. Getting away from the attacker is the top priority.
  • Leave your belongings behind and get away.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the attacker, location, and weapons. 

Cover and Hide

  • Cover and hide if you can't evacuate. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker and put a solid barrier between yourself and the threat if possible.
  • Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.
  • Keep silent.

Defend, Disrupt, Fight

  • Fight only as a last resort. When you can't run or cover, attempt to disrupt the attack or disable the attacker.
  • Be aggressive and commit to your actions.
  • Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.
  • Be prepared to cause sever or lethal injury to the attacker. 

Help the Wounded

  • Take care of yourself first and then, if you are able, help the wounded get to safety and provide immediate care. Call 9-1-1 when it is safe for you to do so. 

Be Safe After:

When Law Enforcement Arrives

  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Keep hands visible and empty.
  • Report to designated areas to provide information and get help. 
  • Follow law enforcement's instructions and evacuate the direction they tell you to go. Listen to law enforcement for information about the situation. Share updates as you can with family and friends. 

Consider Seeking Professional Help

  • Be mindful of your mental health. If needed, seek help for you and your family to cope with the trauma.



More Information/Additional Resources:
MichTip – Michigan’s 24/7 suspicious activity reporting tool: Online or call 855-MICHTIP (855-642-4847) (Link)
OK2SAY – Michigan’s 24/7 confidential reporting tool for tips regarding public and private school violence (Link)
See Somthing, Say Something - Signs of Terrorism Flyer (PDF)
MIReady Family Preparedness Guide (PDF)
MIReady Family Emergency Plan (PDF)
If You See Something. Say Something. - Shareable videos for social media about the importance of reporting suspicious activity  (Link)
Department of Homeland Security - Active Shooter Preparedness Booklet  (PDF) - Mass attacks in crowded and public places (Link)
Emergency Operations Planning Guidance - Active Shooter Guide for Business (Link)
Emergency Operations Planning Guidance - Guide for Developing School Emergency Operations Plans (Link)
Emergency Operations Planning Guidance - Houses of Worship (Link)
Emergency Operations Planning Guidance - Health Care Facilities (Link)

Run Hide Fight - Surviving an Active Shooter