ECU Preparedness

ECU Preparedness Efforts for Active Threats

The safety of the people on our campus is our first concern. Provided below are steps you should take to become better prepared for an active threat situation. Review and discuss the enclosed emergency instructions in staff and faculty meetings, residence hall safety meetings and other groups as appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact the ECU Police Community Affairs unit at 252-328-6787. Let us continue our collective efforts and turn fear and concern into meaningful action through increased education, training, and preparedness. Be INFORMED. Be PREPARED. Be SAFE.

Situational Awareness

One of the most effective ways to increase personal safety is by practicing situational awareness. Situational awareness is the ability to identify, process, and understand what is happening around you, while thinking ahead to prevent or reduce potential safety incidents. Be attentive to the details of your surroundings and how you can use them to your advantage. Use walls and other barriers to protect your back and sides and maximize your field of vision, taking care not to back yourself into a corner. Be aware of your exits and develop alternate methods of escape if the primary exit is compromised. Trust your instincts and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.


Active threat situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. The campus community must be prepared before an incident occurs to take an active role in their safety. All ECU employees are required to complete training upon initial employment and annually thereafter. The training is delivered online and provides guidance to enhance awareness, and response to, an active threat incident. The course highlights the “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.” response steps that everyone should know and understand so they are prepared and empowered to respond in an actual incident. In-person “RUN.HIDE.FIGHT.” training can be requested by contacting the ECU Police Community Affairs unit at 252-328-6787.

In addition to the mandatory Cornerstone training, the following three to five-minute video on “Run.Hide.Fight.” is also available for faculty and staff for classroom response. It is recommended that the video be shown to students in class or included in Canvas as an assignment. Faculty and staff should review their classroom(s) and/or office and create a brief preparedness and response plan. The plan should be discussed with students, including information on door lock function.

Run. Hide. Fight./Active Aggressor

ECU Alert

The campus community is encouraged to sign up for emergency text and/or email messages here.  ECU Alert is a tool to help inform the campus of an active emergency. ECU Alert will be the official message for any emergency situation and provide emergency instructions to faculty, staff, and students. Stay alert and follow the instructions provided by university officials through ECU Alert. Social media sources may not be dependable.

Communication During Incident

The campus community should not expect “real-time” updates during an active threat situation or other emergency. Communication with the campus community must be prompt as possible, but information must be properly vetted before release. There also may be information not appropriate for public consumption during the event.

One of the harshest realities is that active threats are over within minutes, long before police have a chance to fully understand what or who the threat is, where it is, and what is happening. We will not know immediately if the assailant is working alone or there is more than one. It takes time for law enforcement to understand the full extent of an active threat. It is important to know that initial information that reaches police may be incomplete or inaccurate. Reporting parties are under extreme stress, and they may misspeak when giving information, they only know a part of the big picture of information, and we may receive conflicting information.

ECU Alert will be used whenever there is a need to push critical information to the University community. For active threats, an initial message with preliminary information will be distributed in a timely manner following identification of a viable threat. This initial message will notify campus that there is an active threat and provide basic response instructions.

A more detailed message will follow as more specific information is obtained by authorities. Delivery time for this more detailed message may vary based on nature and complexity of the active threat.

Situational updates will be provided periodically during the active threat situation. Please note that the periodic updates may simply reiterate previous information, but additional details will be pushed out as it is available and confirmed to be viable. It is critical to rely only on official sources of information. Social media has historically been a source of inaccurate information and rumors during active threat situations.

The ECU Alert webpage is the primary location for emergency news and situational updates. Should you hear the outdoor speakers or other notification devices activate but do not hear them clearly, ECU Alert webpage is the best source of factual information.

In an emergency, ECU will send out text messages in a timely manner. However, ECU does not have control of when your service provider will deliver the message to your device so there may be a delay. Text messages are only used for serious emergencies and not for follow up information unless it is needed for public safety.

LiveSafe App

The campus community is encouraged to download and use the LiveSafe App here.  LiveSafe is an app that provides quick emergency guides for a variety of hazardous situations, including active assailant. LiveSafe also has a panic button and 2-way communication with ECU Police via text or voice.

Run. Hide. Fight.

If you ever find yourself in an active shooter or armed assailant event, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan does not have to be complicated and should be flexible. There are three things to do that can make a difference: RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. The Run. Hide. Fight. protocol provides procedures you can follow to stay safe in any scenario whether on campus or off campus. Download the LiveSafe app to always keep these instructions at your fingertips. For assistance, contact the ECU Police Community Affairs unit at 328-6787

When an active shooter is in your vicinity:

  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Run as far away from danger as possible and utilize obstructions as you move.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe. Remember that lines may be flooded with high call volume.
  • Provide as much information to dispatchers including location of active assailant, number of assailants, physical description of assailants, type of weapons being used by assailants, and number of potential victims.
  • Stay away until you receive the “all clear” message on ECU Alert.

If an evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

  • Lock and/or blockade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Turn off lights if possible and make the room as dark as possible.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Remain very quiet.
  • Your hiding place should:
  • Be out of the shooter’s view.
  • Provide protection from shots fired in your direction.
  • Not trap or restrict your options for movement.

Faculty and staff should lead students and visitors in the proper response. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to work cooperatively as a team in these situations. Students should be instructed to stay in the classroom where they have the best chance of remaining safe, but they cannot be forced to stay. Do not argue with, confront, or restrain students. Try to help them understand the risk of leaving.

There are different types of door locks on the ECU Campus. See some of the different types below and instructions on how to operate. A systematic approach has been taken to review classroom door locks and install locks where not available or locks did not meet requirements.

Types of Classroom Door Locks on ECU Campus

This picture shows a deadbolt lock on a small classroom. It is a commercial (heavy duty) version of the same deadbolt style one would find in their home, and it operates the same way. Simply turn the thumb latch to lock the door.

These photos show locks on panic hardware in classrooms with single and double doors. These have easy to follow directions on them. Turn the thumb latch and lock status will be displayed (locked or unlocked).

As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger:

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.

When law enforcement arrives:Law enforcement will be armed with weapons in hand, and they may yell orders at you. Remain calm and follow instructions.

  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid pointing, yelling, or sudden movements towards law enforcement.
  • The first wave of law enforcement has a mission to neutralize the threat so they will not help wounded people.
  • Know that help for the injured is on the way.

After the Incident

  • There will still be a lot of confusion after the situation has ended. Phone lines will be tied up, and response and recovery efforts will still be taking place.
  • Stay outside the perimeter of where the situation happened. Obey law enforcement orders. It is very unlikely that you will be able to enter the location where the incident occurred to retrieve personal belongings so do not try to convince them to let you in.
  • If you are injured, seek medical attention.
  • Try to find a group or area set up by university officials or law enforcement that has a check in station so that you are accounted for.
  • Call or text a family member or friend to let them know you are safe and where you are. Have them relay the message to others so you do not tie up the lines.


Run/Hide/Fight Training Videos

Download the on-demand videos under Education and Awareness Programs on the ECU Police Community Affairs website.  Also check out the this video on Run-Hide-Fight as well.

ECU Alert Info

Review the Run-Hide-Fight information here.

ECU Alert

Sign up at for emergency text and/or email messages at Stay alert and follow the instructions provided by university officials through ECU Alert. Social media sources may not be dependable.

ECU LiveSafe App

Run/Hide/Fight instructions included under “Quick Guide for Emergencies.” Download is free.

  1. Go to App Store or Google Play, search LiveSafe
  2. Sign up with your name and contact information
  3. Select East Carolina University as your school

For more information, go to the ECU LiveSafe website.

  • The ECU Police Department maintains dual accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). This accreditation means that ECUPD has met and continues to meet high standards of professional excellence.
  • The ECU Police Department participates in ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) training at least once a year. This is a national standard for active shooter response and is the standard for all UNC system law enforcement agencies.
  • ECU has excellent relationships with other local, state, and federal agencies. ECU Police trains with other agencies in the area to prepare for emergency situations on campus and coordinates with local, federal, and state agencies.