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Run, hide, fight: VPD looks to ready community for possible threats

Last Updated May 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm PDT

(Screenshot VPD video)

The VPD has released a video to get people thinking about how they should react if an active threat presents itself

Police recommend three things if you're ever faced with an active threat: run, hide, or fight

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Police in Vancouver are releasing a new video with the hopes of making sure you’re prepared for possible active threats in this city.

“We just want people to be prepared,” explains VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer. “We’re not trying to fear monger or anything like that. I just think that putting our head in the sand and pretending that everything’s going to be fine is also not an option. It’s like preparing for earthquakes or anything else. May not happen for 150 years but you have to be prepared for it.”

The eight-minute video was released exactly one month after the deadly Toronto truck attack, which left 10 people dead and 15 injured.

It outlines a situation where an active shooter walks into an office building and begins firing. Throughout the video, characters as well as VPD officers outline steps that should be taken when an active shooter situation is taking place.

Palmer says the project began around September of 2016.

“We really started exercising this and practicing this more,” he says. Outlining a number of training exercises for officers, Palmer says the department realized it was providing all these resources to its personnel.

“But there’s another component that’s really important. We have sort of an investigative component that’s proactive and looking for these types of incidents and precursors before they happen… but the public needs to know what to do as well, because it will take several minutes for police and first responders to arrive, so the public needs to know what to do.”

Though Vancouver may not have seen any active threats as of late, Palmer says the city is not immune.

“Just looking at world events, I mean there have been so many that we’ve seen down in the United States, we’ve seen events in our own country with the Parliament Hill shooting. We had the attack, of course, in Toronto just last month, we had the Science World and Starbucks shooting in Vancouver a couple of years ago. So these incidents do happen in Canada as well.”

He highlights the importance of being prepared for any situation, and believes arming the community with the knowledge to get through a similar incident is key.

What to do in the event of an attack

Watch: The VPD has put together a video to get people thinking about how to react if something unthinkable happens

“When we talk about an active, deadly threat, we mean an assailant who is actively engaged in trying to kill innocent people with a weapon,” explains Palmer. “A weapon can be a gun, a knife, a vehicle, or anything else that can cause harm.”

He says there are three key things to remember if you’re ever faced with an active threat.

“Run, hide, fight. You may do all three, you may do two of the three, you may do one of the three, but those are the three things that you need to know.”

By running, Palmer says the aim is to escape — if that’s a safe option. He says it’s vital to understand your environment in order to know the best way to get out. If that’s not an option, however, police recommend you hide.

“And finally, if you cannot hide, get ready to fight. This is a last resort, but you have every right to defend yourself under high risk situations like this.”

Call 911 only once you’ve gotten to a safe location. Police recommend you turn off your cell phone’s ringer as well as vibrate function if you are hiding, and if you can’t, turn it off.

The video isn’t just aimed at getting people to take responsibility for their own safety, but is also a way to get employers to think about how to help their own people in the case of an emergency.

“We all deserve to feel safe in our city. One of the best ways to increase your sense of safety is to ensure that you’re prepared with information and knowledge on how to best protect yourself.”