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Active Shooter Incident Questions and Answers

1. WHY ARE YOU PROMOTING THIS KIND OF EDUCATION WHEN THE SCENARIO IS SO UNLIKELY?

There are three reasons for bringing this information to you:

College and university emergency planners believe this material could save a life, whether on a campus or anywhere else people may travel.

Emergency planners are frequently asked for this information and we are responding to that request. People with this information often report that it brings a sense of empowerment and peace of mind.

Finally, the information can be generalized. You can employ the thought process to prepare for any kind of emergency. This information encourages you to ask that powerful "What if...?" question.

2. USUALLY WE'RE TAUGHT TO JUST PHONE THE POLICE AND WAIT WHEN THERE'S A CRIME. YOU'RE TELLING ME TO ACTUALLY TAKE ACTIONS. THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT.

Active shooter events happen very fast. They evolve quickly and are typically over in a matter of minutes. The police will come, but you need to think about those few minutes before they arrive, and you should have an idea of what to do when they do arrive.

3. ARE YOU REALLY SUGGESTING ATTACKING A PERSON WHO HAS A GUN?

Keep in mind this is the last resort. Active shooters almost always continue until something happens to stop them. If you are trapped with nowhere to go, it might be your only choice. Nobody can force you to take this step, but you should at least be aware it is an option. What you do in such a situation is your own decision.

4. YOU CAN GO TO YOUTUBE AND SEE LOTS OF SIMILAR VIDEOS WITH SIMILAR MESSAGES. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER ONE?

This video was made with the support and input from the Edmonton Police Service. By working directly with police, both the police and the public know what to expect from the other in such a situation.

5. AS A STUDENT, I MOVE AROUND ALL DAY. I'M IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT ROOMS AND SPACES. AM I SUPPOSED TO HAVE A DETAILED PLAN FOR EVERYWHERE I GO?

No, it's not practical to have a detailed plan for every situation. But you can take a moment in various locations to ask, "What if...?" It will prompt you to make a mental note of exits and possible hiding places. That small amount of forethought could make the critical difference in how you react in a real emergency.

6. ARE INSTRUCTORS EXPECTED TO TAKE THE LEAD IN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY SUCH AS THIS?

It is impossible to predict how anyone will react in such an extreme event. Any one of us is capable of becoming a leader with the presence of mind to remember what to do and to take action. It might be an instructor, a member of administration, a member of support staff or a student. With this education, we are all equally prepared to make informed decisions for ourselves.

7. I'VE NEVER HEARD A GUNSHOT IN REAL LIFE. HOW WILL I KNOW ONE IF I HEAR ONE?

The sound of gunfire can vary a lot. Sometimes it can sound like a firecracker. Sometimes it's more like a pop or a loud bang. Gunshots sound different inside and outside. It probably won't sound like you expect it to sound. The sound of gunfire on your campus, however, will be out of the ordinary. Listen and look for other clues and if there's any doubt in your mind, treat the situation as though it is gunfire.

8. AM I EXPECTED TO SAVE OTHERS FROM A SHOOTER, SUCH AS PEOPLE THAT MIGHT HAVE MOBILITY ISSUES OR FREEZE UP, FOR EXAMPLE?

You are not expected to be a hero. You must do what is right for you. If you are confident you can help others without putting yourself in unnecessary danger, you may choose to do so.

9. DOES THIS EDUCATION ONLY APPLY WHEN I'M ON CAMPUS?

No, the principles are the same wherever you are.

10. I'VE JUST WATCHED THE VIDEO AND NOW FEEL ANXIOUS AND UPSET. WHAT DO I DO?

It is okay to be upset. It can be helpful to talk to someone about your feelings. Talk about it with friends, colleagues or family. If you are extremely upset by this material, consider consulting your institution's health or counseling services.