Active Threat

An active shooter can strike anytime, anywhere or anyone, and it’s critical that you know how to respond as soon as you become aware of potential danger.

"Avoid, Deny, Defend" is a national model that SMU has adopted to educate our campus. It is the result of in-depth, after-action lessons learned through partnerships with law enforcement agencies, individuals and institutions who have been involved in active shooter situations. This important information can help you plan in advance how to handle a life-threatening attack on campus including how to report suspicious activity, how to react to the threat and what to expect from responding officers. 

During an active threat, remember: Avoid, Deny, Defend.

AVOID the threat

  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Have an exit plan.
  • Move away from the source of the threat as quickly as possible.
  • The more distance and barriers between you and the threat, the better.

DENY if you can’t get away

  • Keep distance between you and the source.
  • Create barriers to prevent or slow down a threat from getting to you.
  • Turn the lights off.
  • Remain out of sight and quiet by hiding behind large objects and silence your phone.

DEFEND yourself against the threat

  • If you cannot Avoid or Deny, be prepared to defend yourself.
  • Be aggressive and committed to your actions.
  • Don’t fight fair; fight for your life.

For more information about resources and preparedness click here. To request a training session for yourself or your organization, please visit the SMU PD web page.

You can help by being alert to dangerous situations on campus. If you observe an individual with any type of weapon on campus, immediately contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3333, call 911 or use the SMU Aware Safety App