Active Threat Preparedness

The safety of the GW community is our greatest priority.

An active threat is defined as any incident that, by its deliberate nature, creates an immediate threat or presents an imminent danger to the campus community. It is crucial to know how to respond during such an event.

An active shooter is one example of an active threat. An active shooter is an armed suspect(s) discharging a firearm at community members or law enforcement or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by suspect fire. These situations require law enforcement units to take immediate action to end the danger. In addition to offenders armed with firearms (active shooters), it is possible for other types of weapons or instruments to be used by offenders who want to cause harm.

These Prevention, Response, and Education resources are not all-inclusive, but if understood, reviewed periodically, and practiced when feasible, these tips are important to know in the event of an active threat.

The success of school violence prevention requires systems and processes that can identify individuals at risk and intervene effectively. Preventing active threats is the responsibility of all community members. Research shows that early detection and intervention are important not only to protecting the public, but also to providing a chance to intervene and redirect individuals before they negatively affect their own lives and those of others around them. 

Observable behaviors

Reporting observable behaviors facilitates early intervention when concerns are reported, thereby helping to prevent targeted violence and other negative outcomes in schools.  The willingness of bystanders to come forward with concerns for the wellness and safety of themselves or others is a key component of student health and violence prevention efforts. 

When it comes to school settings, violence can be prevented when communities identify warning behaviors and take steps to intervene. Below are some concerning behaviors to note: 

Expressed interest in, or fixations with:

  • Violence and/or homicide
  • Suicide or self-harm
  • Weapons
  • Active Shooters
Changes in behavior, such as:
  • Increased rebelliousness
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Intense anger or hostility
  • Overreaction to workplace change 






    Reporting varies based on the concern.

    If the situation is an emergency, immediately call 911 or GWPD at 202-994-6111. 

    Non-emergency reports of concerning behavior can be made to the GWPD TIPS line, GW CARE Team for students, or through DC's iWATCH reporting tool.  

    Physical Security & Video Monitoring

    GW has sophisticated physical security measures to allow exterior doors to be locked electronically and on-demand. Additionally, GW has invested in expanding the video monitoring coverage to more than 3,000 cameras strategically positioned on GW’s campuses. 

    If an active shooter is in your vicinity:

    • Call 911 when it is safe to do so and provide information, including the location and number of shooters, description of the shooter(s), weapons used and number of potential victims
    • Consider the following protective actions: 
      • Run - If safe to do so, evacuate the area. 
      • Hide - Lock doors, turn off lights & phones, close blinds & get out of sight.
      • Fight - As a last resort work together to incapacitate the shooter by any means. 
    Active Threat Poster, download PDF below

    Active Shooter Preparedness Training

    Schedule an active shooter preparedness training for your group, department, or office here.  

    Training is available for groups of students, faculty, and staff and can be tailored to each type of group to address specific concerns.  Participants will learn:

    • Active shooter trends and characteristics.
    • Actionable techniques you can use to prepare for or respond to an active shooter incident.
    • Practical tips to help you survive an active shooter incident.
    • Techniques you can use to potentially prevent an active shooter attack.
    • GW specific resources to help you prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from an active shooter incident.

    Active Threat Education Resources for Download

    Emergency Lockdown Button Flier

    Active Shooter Poster

      Run Hide Fight Graphic



      Visit the Raise Up GW webpage to learn more about wellbeing activities that support a holistic lifestyle. 

      GWPD TIPS Line

      Use the GWPD TIPS Line at 202-994-TIPS to leave a confidential voicemail message.

      GW CARE Team

      Learn more about the CARE Team and referring students who may need additional support.

      GW Alert

      Log in to GW Alert and update your contact information today!

      Ready GW 

      Visit the Ready GW webpage to learn more about how to prepare for and respond to emergencies. 

      DC iWATCH
      The iWATCH suspicious activity reporting tool enables users to provide detailed information about suspicious activities or behaviors that may indicate possible criminal or terrorist activity
      Loudon County Reporting
      If You See Something, Say Something
      Remain Vigilant. Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Know What to Report, and how to report.