Active Assailant

An active assailant is an individual posing an immediate threat of death or grievous bodily harm to others. These events are rare but when they occur, they are typically dynamic, unpredictable and short in duration. 

If faced with an active assailant on campus, your first and best option is to RUN: 

  • Escape the threat by the shortest and safest means possible. Avoid travelling down long corridors or congregating in large open spaces. 
  • Warn others on your way, if you can.
  • Call 911 only when safe to do so.
  • If you encounter police, don’t run toward them. Remain calm. Keep your hands visible and follow instructions.

If it is not possible to escape safely, hide:

  • If you are inside a classroom or office, stay there. If you are in a corridor, go to the closest unlocked room.
  • Lock windows and doors and await instructions from emergency personnel.
  • If the door does not lock, barricade the entry using heavy objects such as tables and chairs.
  • Close curtains and blinds and turn off the lights.
  • Keep quiet and put your cell phone on silent mode.
  • Hide behind large objects if possible.
  • Stay low and keep away from windows and doors.
  • Call 911, if safe to do so.
  • 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 as an emergency personnel.

As an absolute last resort if you cannot run or hide and if you feel your life is in imminent danger:

  • Commit to actions to delay, block, or overcome the assailant.
  • Work with the people around you.
  • Look for objects that could be used as tools to defend yourself.


Do not open a door once it has been secured until you are officially advised “all clear” or you are confident it is emergency personnel at the door.

Do not evacuate if you hear a fire alarm while in lockdown, unless there is smoke or fire in the vicinity 

Do not be alarmed if police on scene do not respond to or aid those who are injured. The first priority of police arriving on scene is to locate the assailant.


Think about the various places you take classes, study, or work:

  • Where are the nearest exits? What is the shortest route to get out of the building if you needed to evacuate?
  • If you are in a room and needed to hide, do the doors lock? Are there large items to hide behind or to use as a barricade?
  • What nearby objects could be used as an improvised weapon?

In 2014, Mount Royal University partnered with other post-secondary institutions to release a video titled Shooter on Campus: Know You Can Survive. The nine-minute video was produced by the Campus Alberta Risk and Assurance Committee (CARA). Warning: the video contains some material that some viewers may find unsettling, including firearms, gunshots and screaming. 

If the video is distressing to you, there are resources available:

If someone is committing violence, or is about to commit violence, call 911. If you are concerned about behaviour on campus that could indicate a person may cause harm to themselves or others, contact Security Services at 403.440.5900.