'Run, hide and fight': VPD provides tips on how to survive armed attack

'Run, hide and fight': VPD provides tips on how to survive armed attack

The Vancouver Police Department has released a video of a simulated public shooting as a way to help people in the event they're faced with a gunman bent on inflicting mass harm. 

Chief Adam Palmer said the main options are: "Run, hide and fight."

"These are high stress situations and we don't want to over complicate the messaging," Palmer said. "You may do all three, you may do two of the three, you may do one of the three."

At a news conference Wednesday, Palmer said Vancouver is safe and there is no particular threat that motivated the force to make the video.

He also says the city has been lucky to avoid some of the situations seen elsewhere where mass casualties were inflicted, such as last month's van attack in Toronto, which killed 10 people.

But he points to the 2014 shooting of a man in Yaletown, followed by a shoot out with police at Science World as a local emergency that involved a person with a firearm.

Palmer said the force is not trying to fear monger. Rather, the video is a way to instruct people how to protect themselves.

3 survival tips

"It is like preparing for earthquakes or anything else, it may not happen for 150 years, but you have to be prepared for it."

The dramatic video begins with people walking into an office building and heading to their desks. But it takes a violent turn as a shooter opens fire in the lobby.

The video then plays out the three options for those elsewhere in the building: run, hide or fight.

He said running to escape is one option. "An important part of this is taking the time to understand your environment no matter where you go in your travels so you know the best way to get out safely," Palmer said.

If that isn't an option, the video tells people to hide, including silencing your phone or shutting it off.

If that's not possible, the third option is to fight.

"This is a last resort, but you have every right to defend yourself under high risk situations like this," Palmer said.

The video shows people using a fire extinguisher and even keys to try to fight off a shooter.

'There is a likelihood to panic'

Oliver Grüter-Andrew, the CEO of E-Comm, which provides 911 services, says he hopes if people have a good idea of what to do before police arrive, it may allow 911 operators to better help them.

"The hard part for the public is to think about how to respond appropriately in that situation," said Grüter-Andrew.

The VPD is also talking to officials in hotels and large office towers to encourage security staff to prepare kits including key fobs and floor plans to give to police as they arrive on scene in an emergency.