Frequently Asked Questions
There are three reasons for bringing this information to you:
- College and university emergency planners believe this material could save lives, whether on a campus or anywhere else people may travel.
- Emergency planners are frequently asked for this information and we are responding to that request. People with this information often report that it brings a sense of empowerment and peace of mind.
- Finally, the information can be generalized. You can employ the thought process to prepare for any kind of emergency. This information encourages you to ask yourself that powerful “what if...” question.
Active assailant events happen very fast. They evolve quickly and are typically over in a matter of minutes. The police will come, but you need to think about those few minutes before they arrive, and you should have an idea of what to do when they do arrive.
Keep in mind this is the last resort. Active assailants almost always continue until something happens to stop them. If you are trapped with nowhere to go, it might be your only choice. Nobody can force you to take this step, but you should at least be aware it is an option. What you do in such a situation is your own decision.
This video was made with the support and input from the Edmonton Police Service and is endorsed by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police. By working directly with police, both the police and the public know what to expect from the other in such a situation.
No, it’s not practical to have a detailed plan for every situation. You can take a moment in various locations to ask, “what if...?” It will prompt you to make a mental note of exits and possible hiding places. That small amount of forethought could make the critical difference in how you react to a real emergency.
It is impossible to predict how anyone will react in such an extreme event. Any one of us is capable of becoming a leader with the presence of mind to remember what to do and to take action. It might be an instructor, a member of administration, a member of support staff, or a student. With this education, we are all equally prepared to make informed decisions for ourselves.
The sound of gunfire can vary a lot. Sometimes it can sound like a firecracker. Sometimes it’s more like a pop or a loud bang. Gunshots sound different inside and outside. It probably won’t sound like you expect it to sound. The sound of gunfire on your campus, however, will be out of the ordinary. Listen and look for other clues and if there’s any doubt in your mind, treat the situation as though it is gunfire.
You are not expected to put yourself at risk. You must do what is right for you. If you are confident you can help others without putting yourself in unnecessary danger, you may choose to do so.
It is okay to be upset. It can be helpful to talk to someone about your response. Most people find it helpful to talk with friends or colleagues. If the subject matter is especially distressing to you, there are resources available, see below for more information.
For students, visit our Counselling Services webpage.
For employees, visit our Employee and Family Assistance Plan webpage.
For additional on campus and off campus resources, visit our Mental Health Resource page.