Active Threat

An active threat is defined as one or more persons actively killing or attempting to kill people, generally in a confined and/or populated area. Active threats generally involve guns, but can also include vehicles, blunt instruments, knives, or other sharp objects. An active threat usually lasts only a few minutes and concludes when the individual(s) is stopped by law enforcement or by injuring themselves.

Active threats are rare on Canadian campuses, but since they are dynamic and unpredictable, it is best to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

What to do during an active threat emergency

Run (Evacuate)

Evacuate if you see or hear an armed intruder and it is possible to safely exit the area

  • Exit the area by the shortest and safest route possible – if possible, keep low and stay alert, you may still be able to evacuate if injured
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Tell others to leave
  • Assist others if you can and warn them of the threat
  • Call 9-1-1 and Campus Security when it is safe to do so


Follow lockdown procedures if you cannot evacuate safely

  • Find a safe place to hide
    • If you are in a classroom, room or office, stay there. Secure the door and windows and await further instructions
    • If the door does not lock, barricade the door with tables and chairs
    • If you are in public spaces, go to the nearest room or office that is not already secured, and lock or barricade the door and windows
    • Use assistive devices or durable medical equipment to secure hiding spot (such as parking and locking heavy wheelchairs in front of a door)
    • Close curtains or blinds where possible
    • Look for hiding places out of view. Stay away from windows and doors
    • Turn off lights and monitors
    • Stay low and quiet
    • Cell phones should be put on quiet or vibrate. Do not make non-essential calls
    • If the fire alarm is activated, remain where you are and await further instructions from emergency personnel unless you smell smoke or fire
    • Do not open the door for anyone. Emergency personnel will have keys and will identify themselves upon entry

Fight (take action against the active threat)

If you cannot evacuate or hide, and your life is in imminent danger:

  • Commit to and act with physical aggression
  • Work with the people around you
  • Look for objects that could be used as tools in self-defense. Think creatively about how to use personal assistive devices (e.g. canes, crutches, wheelchairs) as weapons
  • Do what you need to stay alive, including using force to protect yourself

When police arrive

Police are trained to neutralize the threat. They will first secure the campus and then work with KPU to assist others once the threat has been neutralized. Officers will identify themselves as they approach barricaded rooms. When police arrive:

  • If possible, keep your hands raised and empty
  • Do not run to emergency responders or police unless directed to do so
  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Remain available when directed to do so for questions
  • Ask for name and badge number if you are unsure – contact 9-1-1 for verification

Run, Hide, Fight

This video simulates the conditions you might experience during an active threat event and you may find it distressing. If you think you need to talk to a professional, there are resources available.

Eligible employees can be connected to a counsellor through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and students can access counselling services at