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Options for Consideration

Evacuate, Evade, Engage

Evacuate, Evade or Engage

From the first sign that there's an active threat in your area until the moment when police arrive you have critical decisions to make.

The actions you take can save your life and the lives of others. Would you know what to do?

There are three response options you can choose: Evacuate, evade, or engage. The response option you choose should be based on your own assessment of the situation and where you are located in relation to the threat.

EVACUATE Heading link


If you hear what sounds like gunfire, react quickly. If you can safely leave the building, evacuate.

Your goal is to put as much distance as possible between you and the threat.

  • Try to identify where the sound is coming from and quickly move away from the sound.
  • Be aware of different escape routes.
  • Warn people around you and prevent others from entering an unsafe area.
  • Once you’re in a safe location contact UIC Police.
  • Call, text through the UIC Safe App, or activate an Emergency Call Box.
  • Share all the information you know, be detailed.


EVADE Heading link


If you cannot safely leave, find a place to evade.

Your goal is to avoid detection.

If you are in an open area, immediately move yourself and all others into an area that can be locked or secured to lockdown. If there is none, do your best to hide.

Hide (Conceal & Cover) 

If you need to hide, conceal and cover.

  • You can conceal your location by remaining out of sight
  • When possible, it is best to seek cover behind dense and hard objects that can both conceal your location and provide extra protection from the attacker or their weapon.


If you are near a classroom, an office, or a bathroom that can be secured, lockdown.  The objective is to delay the threat’s entry into a secure space.

  • Close, lock, and barricade the door.
  • Use whatever you can like belts, computer cables, or heavy solid furniture.
  • Close the shades, get away from windows, and turn off the lights.
  • Remain quiet and hide.
  • Silence your phone.
  • Use it only to monitor updates from UIC’s Emergency Notification System, UIC Alert, or to provide information to police through the UIC Safe App.
  • Describe your location, the number of people with you, or any injuries.
  • Do not leave a secured area until a trusted source or known police officer advises to do so or until you receive an update on the situation from UIC Alert.


ENGAGE Heading link


In case of an active threat incident, the ideal response is to evacuate or evade. Never intentionally seek out the threat. However, if you cannot safely evacuate or evade, you might need to engage as a last resort.

Your goal is to interrupt the threat’s thought process so they can no longer operate their weapon or cause harm.

Distract the threat. 

  • Make noise to confuse and disorient them.
  • Look for objects around you to use as improvised weapons.
  • Throw whatever you can to force them to flinch or to move to protect themselves.

Gain control of the threat, work as a group. 

  • Tackle or strike the attacker.
  • Secure any weapons away from the attacker.
  • Keep the threat under control until police arrive and do not let anyone handle weapons except for police.


2Two UIC Police Officers are entering a building in an emergency


Police Response Heading link

Police may enter the scene with no knowledge of who the threat is, so when they arrive, keep your hands empty and follow the officer’s instructions.

  • Do not yell, scream, or point.

The priority of police is to locate and neutralize the threat.

  • Initial responding officers will not stop to treat the injured until the threat is neutralized


Recovery Heading link

It might be some time until police clear the area of threats and are able to begin building evacuation.

Do not leave a secured area until a trusted source or known police officer advises it’s safe to do so  or until you receive an “All Clear” message from UIC Alert.

At this point, officers and emergency responders will assist people who are injured.

It is critical that they are able to reach the scene as quickly as possible.

So if you are not in the area, stay away.


Situational Awareness & Shared Responsibility Heading link

It’s your responsibility to practice situational awareness.

  • Familiarize yourself with the locations where you spend most of your time and identify spaces or objects that can be used for protection during an active threat event.

At UIC, we continuously work to develop and maintain safety and security policies and resources to safeguard our campuses.

Stay informed about the tools and programs that the university provides to support the prevention and mitigation of acts of violence.

Whether you are a student, employee, or visitor, you have a role in making UIC a safe and secure environment. By holding ourselves individually accountable and caring for our community, we provide a place where we can all learn, live, and work at our best.