Skip to main content

Northwestern launches 'Run, Hide, Fight' training video

Safety video demonstrates what to do in the event of an active aggressor on campus

Northwestern University has produced a new training video on the “Run, Hide, Fight”safety protocol to show students, faculty and staff how to respond in the event of a violent, life-threatening incident on campus. 

The video simulates the scenario of an active aggressor with a gun and is intended to train Northwestern community members in a three-part protocol the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends as the safest response to an active shooter situation: “Run, Hide, Fight.”

“Even with our safeguards in place, knowing how to respond can make all the difference. Preparing for an emergency before one occurs makes you much more likely to be able to respond appropriately if such an event happens,” said Bruce Lewis, Northwestern chief of police and associate vice president of safety and security. “It is important to pay attention to where you are and think through what you could do if a threat appears.”

Research shows that simulated scenarios are effective learning tools, so it is important for students, faculty and staff to view this video, which presents three safety options that could help save their lives in the unlikely event of such an emergency. 

The video graphically demonstrates what an active shooter incident might look like on the Northwestern campus, so it may be disturbing for some viewers. The video begins with a warning that viewer discretion is advised.

“The goal is to protect our community members by preparing and educating them on options to consider if they are involved in an active shooter situation,” said Gregory Klaiber, director of emergency management at Northwestern.  

The video was produced this past summer by the Office of Global Marketing and Communications under the supervision of Chief Lewis and the Emergency Management division in the Department of Safety & Security. It is being introduced this fall in a series of briefings presented by Northwestern’s Emergency Management leaders to schools, departments and administrative units.

It also is now available on the Active Violence section of the Emergency Management website, which provides further guidance on how to prepare.

The "Run, Hide, Fight" procedure is as follows: 


  • Take decisive action if you hear gunshots — don't wait until others tell you to act.
  • Know your surroundings and have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Run and call 911 from a cell or campus phone when it's safe to do so. 
  • Help others if you can, but keep moving. 
  • When calling 911, be sure to provide an exact location — don't assume a dispatcher knows where you are located.


  • If you can't run, hide as a second option. 
  • Do not huddle together as it makes one easy target.
  • Lock and/or use items to barricade doors, shut off lights.
  • Put your cell phone on silent and call 911, but do not speak loudly to avoid being heard. 
  • Keep others calm around you. 


  • As a last resort, when running and hiding are not an option, fight when your life is in imminent danger. 
  • Assume a survival mindset and know that, oftentimes, active violence situations are over in a few minutes.
  • Find an object to use as a weapon — fire extinguisher, chair, book bag, letter opener, etc.
  • Develop a plan with others to take out a potential shooter, be decisive and commit to action.

The Department of Safety and Security, including University Police, along with the Behavioral Consultation Team, remind the community that reporting concerning behaviors and being physically and psychologically prepared to handle unexpected emergencies is an individual as well as an organizational responsibility. Community members are encouraged to use these websites and guidelines as resources to prepare themselves for emergencies:

In an actual emergency, the University uses the Blackboard Connect system to alert students, staff and faculty via phone, text, email and social media. 

All Northwestern students, staff and faculty are reminded to please review and update their emergency contact information. Outdated information will prevent or delay delivery of important information during an emergency.

Students can review and update their emergency information by logging into CAESAR.

Faculty and staff can review and update their emergency information by going to myHR and logging in with their NetID and password.