Important Information About Emergency Preparedness

Posted: February 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Dear Patriots,

Safety is a top priority at George Mason University. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone in our community feels safe and can thrive without fear and it’s important to remember that everyone can play a role in sustaining this environment.

With this in mind, please take a moment to review the following public safety information that explains how to respond in situations where a potentially violent person enters our campus. There are no current threats at this time. But as many of you know, we’ve seen an increase in acts of violence in the workplace in recent years, and college and university campuses are not immune to such threats. We want everyone in our community to have the resources they need and know the best practices in the unlikely event that you are faced with a life-threatening situation.

On Campus Violence Response Procedures:  

Get Out: If a person appears willing to use a firearm or weapon in a university building:

  1. Exit the building immediately, if possible.
  2. Notify others to exit the building and seek protection elsewhere.
  3. Call 9-1-1 and relay as much information as possible:
    • Your name and location
    • Location of the incident and number of shooters or attackers
    • Identity and description of the shooter(s)/attacker(s)
    • Type of firearm(s) and/or weapons used
    • Number and location of victims and their injuries

Hide Out: If you can’t safely exit the building or the attacker is nearby:

  1. Proceed to the nearest room or a room in the nearest building and lock the door.
  2. If you cannot lock the door:
    • Block the door with furniture or equipment
    • Take cover behind equipment or furnishings
  3. Turn off the lights.
  4. Cover door windows.
  5. Remain quiet and act as if the room is empty. Make sure that cell phones and other electronic devices are put on silent or vibrate.
  6. If you are with a group of people try to hide in multiple locations in the room. It is best not to hide as one large group.
  7. When law enforcement arrive follow their instructions, keep your hands visible and raised, and avoid pointing or gestures which may be mistaken for holding or firing a weapon.

Take Out: In the event that you are confronted by an individual with a weapon in a life or death situation and you feel there are no other options, defend yourself and others by whatever means necessary and do not relent until the aggressor is incapacitated or law enforcement arrives.

Mason’s On Campus Violence Resources: The following resources are free and available to all university students and employees.

  • Shots Fired Video: Mason has purchased and tailored a popular active shooter training video used by colleges and universities across the country. ‘Shots Fired’ is a 21 minute video that provides detailed active shooter response guidance. This video is available on Please log into your myMason account and select ‘Active Shooter’ at the bottom of the Mason Links navigation pane.
  • Run Hide Fight Video: Created using a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the city of Houston has produced a dramatic and impactful six minute video titled Run. Hide. Fight. that outlines active shooter response procedures.
  • Mason’s Emergency Preparedness App: Download the university’s Emergency Preparedness App. It contains information about how to respond to various emergencies on campus including on-campus violence, earthquakes, fires, severe weather, and medical emergencies.  You can also report crimes or suspicious incidents to University Police anonymously.
  • On Campus Violence Guide: EHS has produced a five page Workplace and On Campus Violence Guide that provides detailed information how to identify and respond to violent individuals.
  • University Police: University Police provide information and resources regarding on campus violence awareness, prevention, and response. University Police also provide training and links to addition resources. Please visit the On Campus and Workplace Violence webpage.
  • Mason Alert: Mason Alert ( is the University’s official emergency notification system. Mason Alert is used to issue emergency alerts and other important announcements that may affect your safety. All George Mason students and employees are automatically enrolled in Mason Alert when assigned a university email address. Students and employees are strongly encouraged to register cell phone(s) with Mason Alert to receive text messages about emergency situations. Please visit to register your cell phone.

Resources for Students in Distress: If you are a student who wishes to talk to someone about a challenging situation in your life, a person with whom you are in a relationship, interpersonal violence or assault, or if you are a survivor of a traumatic event please consider one or more of these University resources:

Resources for Employees: Human Resources and Payroll provides resources to faculty and staff through Employee Relations and the state Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). The Employee Relations Team is available to provide confidential assistance to employees to identify and resolve work-related problem or proactively avoid potential problems. The state Employee Assistance Programs are available to help employees manage mental health, alcohol or drug abuse, child or elder care, grief counseling and legal or financial difficulties. Please visit for more information.

Campus Assessment and Intervention Team: The university’s Campus Assessment and Intervention Team (CAIT) is committed to improving community safety through a proactive, collaborative, coordinated, objective, and thoughtful approach to the prevention, identification, assessment, intervention, and management of situations that pose, or may reasonably pose, a threat to the safety and well-being of the campus community.  If you feel that someone you know intends to cause harm to themselves or others, please notify University Police at (703) 993-2810.

Please remember that we are here to make sure you have a safe and fulfilling experience. If you have any questions or concerns about Mason’s readiness for potential violence on campus, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at or (703) 993-8448.


David Farris, MBA, CEM
Director of Safety & Emergency Management
Environmental Health and Safety Office
George Mason University