Vancouver Police release video for public on surviving an active deadly threat



WHEN faced with an active deadly threat, preparation may be the best chance of survival. A new video released by the Vancouver Police Department aims to get people thinking about what they might do if the unthinkable ever happens.

The eight-minute-long video walks the viewer through a series of likely scenarios involving an active shooter in an office building, offering survival tips along the way. Viewers are encouraged to act quickly, and look for a safe way to escape. If that is impossible, they are advised to hide and prepare to fight. Ultimately, they may have to fight and defend themselves.

“Active deadly threats are rare in Canada, but they do happen,” says Chief Constable Adam Palmer. “The threat could be a gun, a knife, or a vehicle. It takes time for first responders to arrive, and your safety may be in your hands.”

How can someone possibly prepare for something like this in advance? Awareness is vital: know where all the exits are and how to lock or secure an office, meeting room, or building floor. A realistic safety plan should be in place and practiced. Experts also advise creating a crisis response package for first responders just off-site, including building maps, an up-to-date employee roster, keys, pass cards, floor plans and contact numbers.

“Our officers train and are prepared — your preparation could be key to surviving an incident like this,” says Chief Palmer. “Escape if you can, hide if you can’t, fight if you must.”

The video was funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation, and created with input from E-CommBC Emergency Health Services, and Vancouver Fire and Rescue.



What is an active deadly threat?

An active deadly threat is when an individual is actively killing or attempting to kill people, generally in a confined and/or populated area, and, in most cases, with a firearm.

These incidents are rare in Canada, but like any serious crime, your survival could depend on being prepared.

What would you do?

It’s Monday morning and you are at work. You have just settled in with a cup of coffee to tackle some paperwork before your next meeting. Suddenly, you can hear loud noises and yelling from down the hall. You can’t be sure, but it sounds like gunshots.



  1. If there is a safe way out, stop what you are doing and run!
  2. Leave your belongings behind
  3. Help others to escape, but don’t let indecision slow you down
  4. Call 9-1-1 when you are safe
  5. Prevent others from entering the area



  • Be out of sight and silent
  • Lock and barricade the door
  • Hide behind large, solid objects that could help protect you
  • Silence your cell phone, including vibrate mode, or turn it off
  • Turn off the lights and close the blinds
  • Collect improvised weapons and make a plan of attack in case you need it
  • If the situation changes, you may want to decide to run



  • Don’t panic – you have every right to defend yourself and your best chance for survival now is to literally fight for your life
  • Use improvised weapons, like scissors, furniture, fire extinguishers, and keys
  • Incapacitate the assailant
  • Commit to and act with physical aggression

What does the 9-1-1 operator need?

  • your exact location
  • number of assailants and their description
  • types of weapons seen or heard
  • any information on injuries

What do I do when the police arrive?

Stay calm and follow instructions from first responders. Their first priority is to locate and stop the threat and prevent further harm to innocent people. They may need to bypass injured people until it is safe to begin rescue and medical aid.

  • Put down anything you might have in your hands, such as phones or purses
  • Keep your hands visible, slowly raise them, and spread your fingers
  • DO NOT yell, run, or point at officers
  • Answer questions calmly and concisely

How can I prepare for something like this before it happens?

  • Know your environment and where all the exits are
  • Learn how to lock or secure your office, meeting room, or building floor
  • Develop a realistic safety plan – practice and evaluate its performance
  • Create a Crisis Response Package for first responders just off-site with building maps, an up-to-date employee roster, keys, pass cards, floor plans, and important contact numbers
  • Make sure you know how to mute both vibrate and the ringer on your phone.

Escape if you can, hide if you can’t, fight if you must.