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.


Run or Escape

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

Hide and Prepare

  • 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

Fight & Defend Yourself

  • 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

Tell the 9-1-1 operator

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

When 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

Preparation is key

  • 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. 

Help Prevent a Mass Casualty Attack

Mass casualty or terrorism attacks are very rare in Canada. The VPD has a dedicated team of highly trained officers and civilian staff, who collaborate with other public safety agencies across the country and the globe, to help ensure we’re doing everything we can to prevent an attack.

The public can play an important role in this prevention, as well. If you see or hear something you feel may potentially be related to terrorism, trust your gut and call the police. Your actions could save lives.

What should I report?


  • an individual taking photos of security cameras, fences, access gates or security guards — particularly at crowded public venues, stadiums, government buildings, religious sites, or the home of a high-profile person
  • someone viewing extremist material or sharing violent content online, promoting hateful ideas or extremist views, or making speeches or writing essays calling for violence
  • anyone wearing clothing that is bulky or inappropriate for the setting or who appears to be avoiding security personnel or cameras


  • unusual purchases, such as large quantities of knives, hammers or other sharp-edged objects; a large amount of fertilizer from a nursery; or a large amount of chemicals from a hardware store
  • unusual questions about purchases, like an individual asking questions on the explosiveness of some fertilizers or the level of instability of some chemicals — someone using these materials for legitimate reasons should already know the answers
  • storage of concerning items that could be used as weapons or for a dangerous purpose, by a friend, co-worker, aquaintence or family member (possibly stored in a home, bedroom, office or separate storage facility)
  • a hidden item that will not be readily seen or noticed as unusual, like a piece of luggage placed behind a garbage can near the front entrance of a crowded public venue
  • an item out of place or discovered in a certain type of place, like a duffle bag, suitcase or briefcase, left unattended in a crowded area during a major event, such as a holiday celebration, a concert, a protest march, a sporting event, or along a parade route


How do I report something suspicious?

If you are reporting something as it is happening, or just after, please call 9-1-1.

If you have information to share or want to report something with a time delay, please call 604-717-3321.

Vancouver SHIELD

Vancouver SHIELD partners with public and private sectors to strengthen the city of Vancouver’s resiliency against terrorism, violent extremism, and other threats. The program aims to increase safety awareness, strengthen security partnerships, and enhance resources and information sharing.