Active Threat to Life

On the Ithaca campus contact Cornell Police at 607-255-1111 or 911 
(At other locations contact the local police department by calling 911)

Give your name and campus location with a brief explanation of the situation.

Take note of the individuals age, personal appearance, clothing, vehicle, or any other information that would help identify the individual.

How to respond if there is an active threat to your life.  Be aware of your situation as you commit to a certain action. 

  • RUN
    • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate (e.g., run away from the sound of gun fire)
    • Prevent others from entering the area
    • Evacuate whether or not others agree
    • Meet at a safe area, do not leave campus
    • Take you phone, but leave other belongings behind
    • Call 911 when you are safe
    • Help others escape if possible
  • HIDE
    • Find a safe room (e.g., one with a door, no windows), lock and/or blockade the door
    • Hide behind large objects
    • Turn off lights and close blinds
    • Silence your cell phone
    • Remain very quiet
    • Attempt to incapacitate the assailant
    • Act with physical aggression
    • Improvise weapons (e.g., fire extinguisher, chair, book)
    • Commit to your actions – your life depends on it
  • When Law Enforcement arrives on the scene:
    • Do exactly as the team of officers instructs
    • Do not approach the officers
    • Keep your hands visible, fingers spread, and empty.

Active Threat to Life Animation


Active Threat to Life Questions and Answers

Q: How can people who are not in the vicinity of the active threat react to the scenario?

A: In the event of an active threat to life on the Ithaca campus, it is important to be informed and prepared. National emergency preparedness agencies recommend three basic tactics: Run – evacuate the area; Hide – lockdown in a secure place; Fight – confront the attacker.

Q: How will community members find out if there is an active threat to life on campus?

A: Any time Cornell University Police determine a situation constitutes a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of the university community, a CornellALERT (Emergency Mass Notification, abbreviated as EMN) is written and distributed, without delay, to the entire university community using one or many of the campus EMN systems.

Notification will be sent via Voice and SMS (text) messaging to community members who have opted into the university voice and SMS (text) messaging systems. Sirens/public address messages will be activated to the four towers on campus, and email notification will be sent.

All messages will contain a brief description of the incident and precautions to take. Following the immediate notification from any of these systems, the campus community is advised to go to a safe location and monitor or for additional information and instructions.

Q: How will Cornell Police react to the situation?

A: Once Cornell Police have been alerted of an imminent threat to the Ithaca campus community (via the 9-1-1 center or a call to the general number 607-255-1111), we will activate the emergency mass notification system and respond to the situation. Cornell Police regularly train on protocols to immediately respond and tactics to stop an active threat to life situation.

Q: To what extent will the community be kept updated on the evolving situation?

A: As any life-threatening incident evolves, CornellALERT messages with updated information and instructions are sent to all members of the Ithaca campus community and posted on A final “all clear” message would signal the end of the imminent threat.

Q: Should people who are not in the vicinity of the active threat risk exposing themselves by attempting to run away or hide in their locations? 

A: Community members who receive a CornellALERT message warning of an active threat to life on the Ithaca campus should follow instructions provided by the CornellALERT message. If you are not on the Ithaca campus, stay away until an “all clear” message is sent. The university has protocols in place for a number of campus emergencies in the Emergency Action Guide.

Q: How can I get more training?

A: Contact the Cornell University Police, Crime Prevention Unit for more information about training.