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Emergency Situations

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Active Shooter

If you witness an armed individual on campus at any time or an individual who is acting in a hostile or belligerent manner, immediately call 911 or the University Police Department at 512.245.2805.

Active Shooter Situation Definition:

An active shooter is a person(s) who appears to be actively engaging in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is no apparent pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, with immediate deployment of law enforcement to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims.

If an active shooter is outside your building:

  • Go to a room that can be locked. Lock the doors and windows, and turn off the lights.
  • Get everyone to lie on the floor and out of the line of fire.
  • Call 911 and inform the operator of the situation. Give your name, location and any other details that can be provided about the shooter(s), if possible.
  • Stay at your location until the police or a known university official gives the “all clear.”

If an active shooter is in your building:

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked. If so, follow instructions above.
  • If your room can't be locked, move to a room that can, or exit the building - ONLY IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • If possible, call 911 and alert the police to the shooter's location; if you can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen and try to pinpoint your location.
  • If you can't escape, attempting to overpower the shooter(s) by force is a LAST RESORT.
  • If the shooter(s) leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place, if possible. Do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter(s).
  • If you decide to flee, make sure you have an escape route/plan in mind. Do not carry anything; move quickly and quietly, keep your hands visible, and follow any instructions given by police officers.
  • Do not attempt to remove injured people; tell the authorities of their location as soon as possible.
  • Do not leave campus until advised to do so from the police.

What to expect from responding police:

  • They will respond to the last area where shots were heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.
  • They will normally be in teams of four (4) and armed with rifles, shotguns, and/or handguns, as well as possibly using tear gas or pepper spray to regain control.
  • Try to remain calm and do not be afraid; follow all instructions.
  • Put down bags and/or packages, and keep your hands visible at all times.
  • If you know where the shooter is, inform the officer of their location.
  • The first officers to arrive will not respond to or aid those who are injured. Rescue teams and emergency personnel will as soon as possible.
  • The area will still be a crime scene; police usually will not let anyone leave until the area is secure and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Stay where you are told until the police dismiss you.

Disruptive Individual

If you witness an armed individual on campus at any time or an individual who is acting in a hostile or belligerent manner, immediately call 911 or the University Police Department at 512.245.2805.

Disruptive Individual Definition

  • An individual who makes threats of physical harm to you, others, or themselves.
  • An individual who has a weapon.
  • An individual who behaves in a bizarre manner or exhibits unstable behavior.
  • An individual who is intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance.

If confronted by the individual:

  • Contact the University Police Department (UPD) at 512.245.2805 or call 911.
  • Give your name and location with a brief explanation of the situation to the operator.
  • Take note of the individual’s age, personal appearance, vehicle, and any other information that would help identify them.

Action to take:

  • Stay calm.
  • Sit or stand up straight. Do not slouch.
  • Smile and make eye contact.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly in a confident, normal tone.
  • Do not touch your face. (This may be seen as a sign of aggression).
  • Do not touch the individual, sigh or glare at them, or invade their personal space.
  • Use their name, if known, and ask them to sit down.
  • Paraphrase what they say so that they know you are listening.
  • Offer assistance and explain how you can help, using "we" to include them in the solution process.
  • If possible, advise others of the potential problem.

Hostage Situation

If you see/hear/witness a hostage situation taking place:

  • Get away from being in immediate danger.
  • Call 911 or notify the UPD at 512.245.2805.
  • Provide as much information as possible; i.e., location of incident; number of hostage takers and hostages; physical description and names of the hostage takers (if known); any weapons the hostage takers may have; and your name, location and phone number.

If you are taken hostage:

  • Remain calm, be polite, and cooperate.
  • Avoid heroics and acting foolishly.
  • Do not try to be a negotiator.
  • Do not attempt to escape unless there is an extremely good chance for survival. It is better to be submissive and obey your captor(s).
  • Speak normally. Do not complain or become belligerent. Comply with all orders and instructions.
  • Do not draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, comments or hostile looks.
  • Carefully observe the captor(s) and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing, and other details that can help provide a description later.
  • Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions with your captor(s).
  • Try to establish a positive relationship with your captor(s) and get to know them. Captors are generally less likely to harm you if they have a personal connection or respect for you.
  • If you are forced to present any type of demands to the authorities, either on tape or in writing, state clearly that the demands are from the captor(s). Avoid making any pleas on your own behalf.
  • Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible.

In a rescue situation:

  • DO NOT RUN. Drop to the floor and remain still. If that is not possible, keep your hands out and visible, bow your head, and stand still. Make no sudden movements that a tense rescuer may interpret as hostile or threatening.
  • Wait for instructions and obey instructions you are given.
  • Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer isn’t sure whether you are a hostage or a hostage taker.
  • Even if you are handcuffed and searched, DO NOT resist. Just wait for the confusion to clear.
  • You will be taken to a safe area where proper identification and status will be determined.


What to do:

  • Activate the nearest fire alarm.
  • Call 911.
  • Notify occupants and help those in the immediate area who may need assistance.
  • Evacuate the building by the nearest exit.
  • Confine the fire by closing doors as you exit.
  • Do not re-enter the building until permitted to do so by emergency personnel.

Building evacuation procedure:

  • Evacuation is mandatory when a fire alarm has been activated.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Take personal belongings, such as keys, wallets and purses.
  • Close doors as you exit.
  • Move people to a safe area away from the building.

Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat:

  • Remain calm.
  • Get as much information as possible from the caller (if by phone).
  • Call the University Police Department at 512.245.2805.
  • Follow instructions from emergency personnel.

Weather Emergencies

Closures or cancellations due to severe weather will be announced via several methods, including:

  • The university home page at
  • E-mail from the University News Service or the University Police Department to all students, faculty and staff
  • Messages recorded on the university news hotline at 512.245.2424
  • Voicemail messages sent to all campus telephones
  • Local media announcements
  • Texas State weather emergency siren system

University closure due to severe weather is announced as soon as the decision to close has been made. The most reliable sources for this information are the university website, the university’s recorded news bulletin and mass e-mail distributions from the University News Service. While area media will always be informed of closures, there is no guarantee that the information will be carried by all media or that it will always be reported accurately.

Texas State Weather Warning System:

Texas State University utilizes a dangerous lightning prediction warning system. The system uses a horn array and strobe-light warning mechanism to alert the campus of approaching weather systems that have the potential to produce dangerous lightning. If this occurs, the horn array will sound two times for 15 seconds and strobes will be activated throughout the alert.

If the Texas State weather warning system is activated, you are advised to seek shelter in the nearest available open building, away from windows, or in a low-lying area until the all clear alarm has sounded. The all clear alert will be three five-second sirens.

The system will be tested monthly by sounding of the horns. During the fall and spring semesters on the third Friday of each month, a full emergency notification test will be performed.

Gas Leaks

If you detect natural gas, fumes or vapors:

  • Do not pull fire alarms.
  • Do not touch light switches or electrical equipment.
  • Call University Police at 512.245.2805 or 911.
  • Clear the area immediately if instructed to do so by the emergency dispatcher.
  • Provide your location and the location of the odor to the dispatcher.
  • Provide as many additional details as possible to the dispatcher.

Hazardous Spills

If the incident is indoors, close all doors in order to isolate the area if it is safe to do so.

From a safe area, call the University Police Department at 512.245.2085 or 911.

If possible, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name of the material
  • Quantity of the material
  • Time of the incident
  • Location of the incident
  • If anyone has been injured or exposed to the material
  • If a fire or explosive is involved
  • Your name, phone number and location

Follow instructions offered by the emergency responders.

Evacuate the area if necessary.