Active Threat

Safety and security is a top priority at SFU. 
This video was developed to provide our community with information about active threat situations and how best to respond. Safety & Risk Services offers safety presentations for the community on a variety of topics, including active threat. Special thanks to the RCMP for their support of this video. 

*(Note: This video uses "shelter-in-place" terminology instead of the "lockdown" procedures which have become the industry standard since the production of this video.)

What is an active threat?

An active threat is defined by the RCMP as one or more persons who seek out a target rich environment and participate in a random or systematic infliction of death or grievous bodily harm

These acts create an immediate risk to the safety to those in the vicinity.

Active threats:

  • are rare on Canadian campuses
  • are unprovoked and generally involve the use of guns
  • are dynamic, can shift locations and are unpredictable
  • usually conclude when the individual is stopped by law enforcement, fatally injures them self, or another intervention.

Sign up for an Active Threat Workshop 

Would you like to learn more about how to protect yourself and others in the event of an active threat?

Campus Security offers active threat workshops by request for students, faculty, and staff.  

Whether you would like to arrange a workshop for a group, or you are an individual interested in attending an upcoming presentation, click here to complete the workshop request form.

In the event of an active threat situation:

Protect Yourself

Act to protect your personal safety immediately. Your best options are to:

  • RUN: Evacuate the area if it is safe to do so
  • HIDE: Lockdown and hide yourself if you cannot evacuate safely
  • TAKE ACTION: As a last resort, commit yourself to delay, block or overcome the threat


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 means possible.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Tell others to leave.
  • Assist others if you can.
  • Warn others of the threat. 
  • When it is safe to do so call 911/Campus Security.



If you cannot evacuate safely, lockdown

  • If you are inside a classroom or office:  stay there. Lock or barricade the entry and await instructions from emergency personnel.
  • If you are in a corridor:  go into the closest office or classroom that’s not already locked.
  • Close curtains and blinds and stay away from windows and doors.
  • Keep quiet: Put your cell phone on silent mode.
  • If the fire alarm is activated, remain where you are and await further instructions from emergency personnel. 
  • Do not open the door for anyone unless they validate their identity. Follow instructions from police at all times.
  • Call 911 if it is safe to do so.

Take Action 

If you cannot run or hide, take other action to protect yourself

  • Commit to other actions with the goal being to delay, block, or overcome the threat.
  • Work with people around you.
  • Do what you need to stay alive, including using force to protect yourself.
  • Look for objects that could be used as tools in self-defense. 

Attempting to overcome an armed intruder with force should only be initiated if your life is in imminent danger. 

Alert Authorities

Active threat situations are confusing and there may be uncertain or conflicting information about the situation. If you are aware of an active threat:

Call 911 and Campus Security emergency lines as soon as it is safe to do so. 

When Police Arrive

  • Do not interfere with the immediate response of emergency personnel. 
  • Remain calm and follow officers' instructions.
  • Do not run towards emergency responders unless directed to do so.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times. 
  • Remain available to answer questions and be accounted for by Police.

Prepare in advance:

  • It is recommended to think through your options now - take a moment to look around your usual space and identify potential exits, hiding places, and items you could use as tools for self defense. 
  • Enter Campus Security phone numbers into your phone now so you don't have to search for this information during an emergency.


SFU Burnaby 778.782.4500 778.782.3100
SFU Surrey
778.782.7511 778.782.7070
SFU Vancouver 778.782.5252 778.782.5029
Goldcorp Centre 778.782.6649 778.782.5749

[bold indicates the local extension]