Preparation and planning

What is an Armed Intruder?

An Armed Intruder is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; an armed intruder may use any weapon such as a knife or bat but in most cases, it will be what is known as an active shooter who is using firearms(s). There is usually no apparent pattern or method to how they choose their victims.

These situations evolve quickly and there is no way to anticipate their course. Typically, the immediate deployment of police is needed to stop the attack and mitigate harm.

Armed intruder or active shooter situations can be over within 10 to 15 minutes. For this reason it is important that you are prepared to act quickly to protect yourself.

You Can Prepare Yourself

  • You can make a difference simply by imagining various scenarios playing out in the places you take classes, study or work. Where are the exits? Do the doors lock? What would make a good barricade? What would make a good weapon? Ask yourself “What if…?” This kind of thinking is helpful in preparing for all kinds of emergency, wherever you may go. Review the Armed Intruder Procedure.

About the Police

  • You might be surprised by the actions of the police in an active shooter situation. First, they may not have time to help you when they first arrive as their top priority will be to find and stop the shooter. Second, the police might not know exactly what the shooter looks like so they have to consider you a possible threat. For that reason, if you encounter police, don’t run toward them. Remain calm. Keep your hands visible. Follow instructions.

Identifying a Person at Risk

  • There is no way to accurately predict who is on the way to becoming an active shooter, but there are behaviours that may indicate someone is in trouble. Be aware of some signs.
  • Significant behavioural changes: angry outbursts, agitation, poor hygiene, visible weight change, intimidation and bullying, altercations with others, intoxication or substance abuse, uttering hostile or offensive remarks, strange or disturbing behaviour.
  • Changes in performance: repeated absences, missed deadlines, inappropriate or incoherent writing, frequently interrupting, and disruptive behaviour.
  • Social/Emotional: significant problems interacting with others, isolated or withdrawn, extreme or prolonged sadness, emotional outbursts, devoid of any emotions, erratic mood swings, excessive fatigue.
  • Some of these risk factors may be present with an individual at risk or none.

Reporting a Concern

  • If someone is committing violence, or about to commit violence, at the university, call 911.
  • If you are worried about something you observe or have a worried feeling about someone but aren’t sure what to do, contact Campus Security at 250.740.6600 or your supervisor.

University of Alberta “shooter on campus – know you can survive” video