Active Shooter Workplace Response Policy

This policy is intended to provide guidance to Library staff in the event an individual is actively shooting a weapon at people while in the Library.

Roanoke Public Library will provide an active shooter emergency response plan to staff to alert them how to react if an active shooter appears to be engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in the Library.

An active shooter is defined as a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people at the Library premises. In most cases active shooters use firearms and display no patterns or methods for selection of their victims. In some cases active shooters use other weapons and/or explosive devices to increase the numbers of victims and act as an impediments to police and emergency responders.

This plan cannot address all possible scenarios, but outlines a general planned response.

If possible, the first employee to identify an active shooter situation will:

• Attempt to notify 911 with the following information:
o Caller’s name
o Location
o Physical description of shooter
o Type of weapon, if known

Calling 911 and setting the phone down will result in police being dispatched to the area.


The employees at the location where the active shooter situation is occurring have 3 possible courses of action to follow in response that danger.
• Evacuate
• Hide out
• Self-defense

(Evacuating through the backdoor in the program room is suggested, blocking program room glass doors if possible)

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises, following these recommendations:
• Have an escape route and plan in mind
• Evacuate, regardless of whether others agree to follow
• Leave your belongings behind
• Help others escape, if possible
• Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
• Keep your hands visible
• Follow the instructions of any police officers
• Do not attempt to move wounded people
• Call 911 when you are safe

(Hiding at the Roanoke Public Library is not suggested as there are no safe hiding places)

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you, with these recommendations:

The hiding place should:
• Be inconspicuous
• Be out of the active shooter’s view
• Provide physical protection if shots are fired in your direction (for example, locating in a bathroom and locking the door, staying as low to the floor as possible and remaining quiet and motionless
• Not trap you or restrict your movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering the hiding place:
• Lock the door, if possible
• Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:
• Lock the door, if possible
• Silence cell phones
• Hide behind large items, like cabinets or desks
• Remain quiet and motionless

(If necessary, library director will attempt to interact with shooter so others may evacuate as described above)

If it is not possible to evacuate or hide, then consider self-defense, with these recommendations:
• Remain calm
• Do not do anything that will provoke the active shooter
• Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
• If you cannot speak, leave the line open to allow the 911 dispatcher to listen

Take action against the active shooter only when you believe your life is in imminent danger, and then attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter as follows:

• Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
• Throwing items and improvising weapons
• Yelling
• Commit yourself to defensive physical actions


The police will arrive to respond to the emergency. Please follow these recommendations:

1. Comply with police instructions. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured.

2. When police arrive at your location:
• Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
• Put down any items in your hands
• Immediately raise your hands and spread your fingers
• Keep your hands visible at all times
• Avoid making quick movements toward officers, such as attempting to hold on to them for safety
• Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
• Do not ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction in which the officers are entering the area or to an area to which they direct you
• Notify Library Board President that you have evacuated the premises due to active shooter situation

3. When police arrive be prepared to share the following information, if possible:
• Number of shooters
• Number of individual victims and any hostages
• Any events that may have provoked the shooter
• Type and number of weapons possibly in the possession of the shooter
• Identify Library Staff
• Share your Library key, if requested by the police


After the police have secured the premises, the Library Staff will participate in the law enforcement investigation of the incident, including identifying witnesses and providing requested documents.


The Library Staff will engage with emergency responders who provide medical assistance to injured patrons, including helping to obtain all required medical insurance information.


Law enforcement personnel will notify relatives of any injured patrons in a timely fashion.


In the event that there is a fatality or one employee is hospitalized for treatment, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) must be notified. If there is a fatality, OSHA must be notified within eight (8) hours. In the event of a hospitalization of one employee for treatment, OSHA must be notified within twenty-four (24) hours.

In addition, if the fatality or injury is work-related, the Library may have to record the incident on its OSHA 300 Log (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) within seven (7) calendar days.


Law enforcement will respond to any media requests for information. Law enforcement will carefully consider the nature of any such requests in order to avoid disclosing information about any person that is confidential and protected by Federal and state privacy and medical laws and regulations interfering with an ongoing police or Library investigation.

Adopted 11/27/2017