Loyola University Chicago

Campus Safety

Active Shooter

At Loyola, we believe in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Therefore, it is critical that we give advance thought to how each of us should immediately respond if we ever have an "active shooter" on campus. The prevention of an active shooter on our campuses is certainly the best possible scenario. Vigilance and the sharing of relevant information is the basis of prevention. Faculty, staff, counselors, and campus police are in the best position to identify and react to warning signs, such as violent messages in papers and student projects, direct threats, and rumors about guns or other weapons on campus.[1]

The active shooter situation is when the threat is not contained and there is an immediate risk of death and injury.[2] This Campus Safety Response Plan will address two issues:

  • How students, faculty, and staff should respond in this type of situation.
  • What the Loyola community can expect from our campus police officers.



Regardless of where you are, you should RUN.

If you are unable to RUN, you should HIDE.  

If RUNNING and HIDING are not an option, you need to FIGHT.

Please consult the Quick Reference Guide for more information.

Those three words should be used to determine the actions you take when confronted with violence on campus.  

The FBI has released the following Quick Reference Guide for further information.  

Active Shooter Image

 Please click the image for more information.


If you are caught in an open/common area that has no cover:

  • Immediately try to place some object (file cabinet, desk, furniture) between you and the shooter.

If you are in a classroom, lab, washroom, or an office, attempt all of the following:

  • Lock or block the door and reinforce it with a desk, file cabinet, or any heavy furniture that is available.
  • Turn off all lights, close the blinds, and cover any window or door (with a window) if possible.
  • Eliminate noise: computers, cell phones and/or radios. 
  • Keep quiet, out of sight, and seek the safest spot in the room. Hide behind a concrete wall or a heavy object. 
  • Place signs on windows that are facing outside (not on interior windows), letting emergency response personnel know about any wounded people.
  • Do not respond to anyone who knocks on the door, and keep it locked. 

If you are in a hallway:

  • Seek out a room and keep the door locked.

If you are in a gym or theater with access to the outside:

  • Exit the premises toward any police unit. Keep your hands on your head and follow instructions given by authorities.

If you are outside:

  • Seek cover: a wall, a tree, parked vehicles, or any other object that can stop a bullet.  

While others are securing your place of refuge, designate someone to call 9-1-1 and provide Campus Safety (773.508.SAFE) with the following critical information: 

  • Your specific building and location in that building
  • The number of assailants that are involved
  • The description of the assailant(s): race, gender, height, weight, clothing—with special attention to color/style (hat, jewelry, etc.)
  • Kind(s) of weapon(s) that is being used: handgun, shotgun, rifle, etc.
  • Amount of people at your location, number of people injured, and how severely they are injured

Comfort the injured and utilize basic first aid if you are able to.


A contingent of Loyola’s Campus Safety officers is armed, is a recognized Police Department, and has the responsibility of first response in the event of a situation such as an active shooter on our lakeside campuses. 

Notification to the Loyola community will be made as soon as possible through various channels, including:

  • Loyola Alert—Please register at LUC.edu/alert (those registered will get communications via voicemail to a cell/land line, text message to a cell, and/or an e-mail message)
  • Special broadcast e-mail message to ALL students, faculty, and staff
  • Alert banner on LUC.edu
  • Public address system located in/near many of the main buildings
  • Interior emergency phones located throughout campus buildings
  • Digital screens located in various buildings on campus
  • Social media: Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago and @LoyolaChicago (Twitter)

Loyola’s on-duty supervisors and armed police officers will have entry responsibility. These officers are highly trained professionals, many of whom have received training that exceeds the State of Illinois requirements. While armed campus officers are entering the shooter’s area, other campus officers will direct the arriving Chicago Police Department units to the scene and prepare for the arrival of the specialized units of the Chicago Police Department (SWAT and HBT).[3]

Once the threat has been eliminated, first aid and evacuation will begin. Those being evacuated will be instructed to follow a number of procedures:

  • Safe exit routes will be established. Do not exit your secure area until you are instructed to do so by police or fire personnel.
  • For safety purposes, you may be instructed to keep your hands on your head.
  • You may be searched.
  • You will be escorted out of the building by law enforcement personnel.
  • The entire area will be considered a crime scene by the police. You will not be allowed to return to the area until the crime scene has been processed.
  • Everyone will be escorted to a designated area for medical treatment, counseling, and to be interviewed by investigative personnel from the Chicago Police Department.

These safety response guidelines are not all-inclusive, but if understood and followed up with periodic reminders and training, they can help you be prepared in the event of an active shooter incident on campus.

[1] Twenlow S, Fonagy P, Sacco F, et al. “Premeditation Mass Shootings in Schools: Threat Assessment.” Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2002; 41: 475-477.

[2] Auburn University Press, Active Shooter Incidents: The Community Response

[3] (SWAT) Special Weapons and Tactical, HBT (Hostage, Barricade, and Terrorist)