Hostile Intruder(s) Emergency Response Guidance

The University has developed this document to provide guidance to the community on the topic of hostile intruder(s). A hostile intruder may be described as an ‘active shooter’ by law enforcement when a firearm is involved. In the event that a hostile intruder threatens the personal safety of members of the Brown University community, the following guidance should be followed.

This guidance cannot cover every possible situation that might occur. Nevertheless, it should be used as a training tool that can reduce the number of injuries or death if put into action as soon as a situation develops. While an ‘active shooter’ is one type of Hostile Intruder, other scenarios should be considered and planned for. Time is a critical factor in the management of this type of situation. A Hostile Intruder situation may require a combination of action depending on the circumstances. Most other emergencies require either building evacuation of shelter in place.

The Department of Homeland Security along with many other law enforcement agencies recommends the RUN… HIDE… FIGHT… tactic in response to a situation where an ‘active shooter’ is present and intending to cause harm.


RUN – When an active shooter is in your vicinity

  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate if others agree to evacuate or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others to escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call Brown Public Safety at 4111 from any campus phone or 401-863-4111 from your cell phone.
  • If you are away from campus call 911 for help.

HIDE – If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the shooters view.
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.
  • Not trap or restrict your options for movement.
  • Remember to silence cell phones and shut off lights if possible.

FIGHT – As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.
  • If you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.

Hostile Intruder(s) within a Campus Building

In addition to Run…Hide…Fight… here are some things to consider if this were to occur in a University building:

  • If possible lock yourself in the room you are in at the time of the threatening activity. Remember that many doors cannot be locked from the inside.
  • Try to stay calm and be as quiet as possible.
  • Do not activate the fire alarm to evacuate a building during a hostile intruder incident. A fire alarm evacuation might place building occupants in potential harm as they attempt to exit.
  • Barricade yourself in the room with furniture or anything you can push against the door.
  • Lock the windows and close blinds or curtains.
  • Stay away from windows. Crouch down if necessary to stay out of sight.
  • Don’t stay in an open area that is unsecured.
  • If you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.
  • If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, follow their directions and don’t look the intruder in the eyes.

Once the police arrive, obey all commands. This may initially involve your 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 you further directions to follow.

Signs of Distress

If you have had contact with an individual who displays a sign of distress, you should contact the following campus resources.

  • Department of Public Safety at 401-863-4111 for any emergency situation.
  • Human Resources at 401-863-3175 for concerns about faculty or staff
  • Office of Student Life at 401-863-3145 for concerns about students
  • Counseling and Psychological Services at 401-863-3476 for concerns about students

Signs of distress may include

Verbal or written threats:

  • Threats can be both veiled and direct, and conveyed to a potential target or to a third party about a target.

Stalking or harassment:

  • These behaviors may take on various forms including written communication (conventional and electronic), telephone contact, and harassment.
  • Individuals may also follow a potential target and visit or damage their property.

Physically aggressive acts:

  • These behaviors may take the form of physical assaults, menacing actions with weapons or repeated physical violence to intimate partners.

Concerning behaviors:

  • These behaviors included, but were not limited to: paranoid ideas, delusional statements, changes in personality or performance, disciplinary problems on campus, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, non-specific threats of violence, increased isolation, “odd” or “bizarre” behavior, and interest in or acquisition of weapons.

Additionally Brown has developed some guidance resources for assisting students who may be in distress. These resources are located at the following websites.

Additional Resources

Emergency Contacts

Brown Public Safety: 401-863-4111 (4111 from any campus phone)

Providence Police, Fire, Medical: 911 or 401-272-1111

Providence Police (non-emergency): 401-272-3121