Armed offender on campus

Armed offender on campus

Armed Offender on Campus/Active Shooter

One of the most dangerous situations that our Campus will ever face is the presence of an armed offender or even worse, an active shooter. Australia prides itself in exercising an extremely tight gun control regime, but there have been rare incidences of these types of situations occurring.

How you respond to a situation such as this will be determined by the specific circumstances surrounding the incident, but these types of situations are highly unpredictable and can evolve very quickly.  The following information outlines effective practices to help you prepare and cope with an incident of this nature.

Protect your own life - In the absence of any direction from the University, use your best judgement to remove yourself from danger, either by taking shelter-in-place within your building or by evacuating to a safer place on Campus.

Protect the life of your fellow student or staff member - Alert others in your immediate area to the danger, and act together for the benefit of everyone. Try to identify the safest escape route.

Be aware of your surroundings - Be aware of your exact location and try to identify the safest location for you to go to, via the safest escape route from where you are.

Call for Help - If you have a mobile phone, dial "9850 9999" for the Campus Emergency Centre or dial "000" for Emergency Services.  If you are able, give clear details of the location and description of the offender, your location, and if anyone is injured or requires medical assistance. If you are near a blue Campus Emergency Help Point, activate the call button and provide clear detailed information to the Security Control Centre. There are MQ internal phones in all Campus buildings in an emergency dial "9999".  This is the Campus Emergency telephone number and it receives priority handling in the Security Control Centre. Remember, it is inevitable that Police or any other responding Emergency Services a number of minutes to arrive on Campus, and then to the actual location of the incident.

Emergency 9850 9999Emergency 000

How to respond when an armed offender/active shooter is in your immediate vicinity

  • If there is an accessible safe escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises or the location you are in
  • Leave all your belongings behind, but remember to take your mobile phone with you
  • Help others, and try to move in small groups
  • Try to prevent other students or staff from entering the building/danger zone
  • Call for help as soon as it is safe to do so

Shelter in Place

If you are unable to evacuate your location/building, then you need to find somewhere to shelter in place. Examples of ideal locations to seek shelter would be:

  • A place where the offender cannot see you
  • Somewhere that provides you with some degree of protection, in the instance that shots may be fired in your direction
  • A place that does not restrict your potential escape path, or your options for movement
  • If you are in a hallway, identify a nearby room that you consider would give you the best place for concealment

If you take shelter in a room, then:

  • Close and lock the door
  • Push or place barriers in front of the door, such as filing cabinets or heavy office desks
  • Take cover behind large solid items
  • Remember to silence your mobile phone, but do not turn it off as emergency messages will be transmitted to SMS services during an emergency
  • Close the blinds and turn off the lights in the room
  • Everyone should get down on the floor, making yourself as invisible as possible
  • Do not respond to anyone calling or yelling out to you, unless you are absolutely certain that they are a Police or other Emergency Services Officers
  • Actively listen for noises or activity outside of the room, this may give you an indication of whether the offender has left or is leaving the immediate area
  • Try to remain quiet and where possible, remain calm

Encountering the offender

If you encounter the offender face to face, or they are in your direct view and have seen you, then immediate action may be required
This is a last resort, and if you feel that you are in imminent danger of losing your life, then you may be able to disrupt or incapacitate the offender by:

  • Acting as aggressively towards them as possible
  • Screaming and yelling at them
  • Improvising a weapon to throw at them, such as a chair or a laptop
  • This type of action requires you to be totally committed to your actions, as it is a fight for survival

When the Police arrive

  • The priority for Police first onsite is to engage with the offender, leaving injured persons as a secondary consideration
  • Comply with all instructions given to you by any Police Officer
  • Some of the Police will be in uniform, but others will be in plainclothes or even in tactical equipment such as bullet resistant vests and helmets, and carrying an assortment of various firearms
  • Provide clear information when asked, as to your knowledge of the situation such as:
    • number of offenders
    • descriptions of offenders including clothing and distinguishing marks
    • ethnicity
    • age and any accent if they did speak
    • description of any weapons sighted, if possible
    • any injuries sustained to anyone involved
  • Do not be afraid of the Police, and understand that they may need to treat you as a suspicious person until your identity can be verified
  • When instructed to go to a safe location, move quickly and confidently and once there, remain until further instructions are given to you
  • Do not leave the Campus unless told to do so by Police as you may be an important witness in the overall investigation
  • In circumstances such as these, Macquarie University will treat your wellbeing with the highest importance and provide all assistance possible


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