Your Top Priority: Have a Plan to Run/Hide

By Garid Faria, Administrative & Fiscal Support Specialist.

As part of my ongoing series of blurbs on personal safety and emergency preparedness, please consider specific ways you can be prepared to protect yourself during an armed attack (knife, bomb or gun wielding assailant) on campus. Here are a few guidelines:

#1 RUN

  • Assuming there is enough time (i.e. distance between you and the attacker) and you have the physical ability, running may be the best option, if you have a viable escape plan and don’t feel safe at your present location. Conversely, the closer an attacker is to you, then the less viable this alternative becomes.
  • As part of your planning, viable means multiple premeditated escape routes that quickly take you away from the likely location and/or route that an armed attacker would take to get to you.
  • If you are near an emergency exit, back door, or other lesser used exit, having this as one of your designated escape routes may be your best option during an attack, especially if this route is out of the line of sight of an attacker.
  • It is critical that you escape before an attacker is near you (i.e. close enough to shoot or stab you) because it is the safest response.
  • Ideally, this escape route provides you with concealment along the way, should the attacker somehow close the distance while you are escaping.
  • Be vigilant during your escape, avoid major walkways/open areas and be prepared to quickly take cover/hide.


  • Next best in terms of safety.
  • Like playing “hide and seek”, seek out areas with better physical security (i.e. rooms with no or less windows/able to lock or block the door).
  • As much as possible, find multiple premeditated hiding spots or locations that provide both concealment (out of sight) and cover (physical barrier to bullets or a knife).
  • Seek to avoid contact with an attacker by getting as far away as possible from his last known location and/or his likely entry point into the building or the room/space you are hiding in.
  • Although it may be difficult, with proper planning, it is often possible to find a hiding spot with good concealment and an escape route, so you aren’t easily found and don’t become trapped.
  • Wherever your hiding spot, be sure that you can properly lock/barricade the door(s) and turn off the lights.
  • Remain hidden/silent and don’t forget to silence your phone.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Should the attacker have a knife, remaining inside a secured interior room or building is your best option because he shouldn’t be able to gain entry.


  • Given the fact that you will likely be unarmed or poorly armed and less prepared then an attacker, you will be at an extreme disadvantage. Therefore, fighting is the most dangerous option and should be avoided at all costs; should you decide to fight, fight for your life.
  • In other words, fight only if you are unable to run or hide or if the attacker is about to find you.
  • If possible, use the element of surprise and team up with others to defend yourself.
  • If you are in imminent danger from an attacker, you will need to close the distance and then then follow the 5 D’s (first, read this article and then watch the narrated video for examples).
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