Run, Hide, Defend: York Regional Police launch campaign to prepare workers for shootings

A new educational campaign launched by the York Regional Police hopes to help prepare office workers and the general public to handle a situation in which an active shooter is on the premises.

“If you are faced with a dangerous situation, your first thought should be – what’s important now?” That’s the question a video created by the York Regional Police asks before answering with the name of the campaign: “Run, Hide, [and] Defend.”

Officers stressed that the Run, Hide, Defend campaign is not meant to cause fear. Rather, it should be considered an educational tool to help individuals, community organizations, and businesses create “life-saving strategies” that can be used in the event of a shooting.

“It is essential that we are all educated and prepared on how to react in the event of an emergency,” Supt. Kevin Torrie said at a news conference held Wednesday morning.

The video was screened at that press conference, followed by a statement from Kristina Anderson — a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech school shooting where 32 people were killed. Anderson was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the foot.

“Thinking through how you can get out, how can you barricade yourself in if you have the capacity to do so? What do you have around you? All of these strategies are things that weren’t talked about in 2007,” she said.

According to the video, in the event of a shooting, workers should first attempt to run away from the attacker.

“If you have the opportunity to escape, get out of the building as quickly as possible. Try not to panic. Be decisive in your actions,” the video says.

The video suggests that those who are able to run away should prevent others from going inside the building or heading towards the area where the active shooter is located. Belongings should be left behind.

If running away is not an option, police suggest people find a place to hide. In an event where the attacker is approaching your location, police say people should look around and find something that can be used to defend themselves, like a pair of scissors or a fire extinguisher.

“We will respond as quickly and effectively as possible, but the actions you take before we arrive are the most important to ensure your survival,” the officer in the video says.

The video says fighting back should be a last resort.

“Led by the Emergency Management Unit, the Run, Hide, Defend project can be incorporated into emergency management and critical incident response plans already developed by businesses and community organizations,” York Regional Police said in a news release issued Wednesday morning.

The Run, Hide, Defend campaign includes a video, pamphlets, and downloadable resources found at the York Regional Police .