Police Emergency Alert

What you need to know

The RCMP in British Columbia can activate localized or provincial-wide emergency alerts using the EMBC Alert Ready Public Alerting system when specific criteria have been established. In additional to traditional and social media public communication efforts, the BC RCMP will consider using the system to generate a text message to cellular phones within a specified geographic area to alert the public to an event and provide direction on how they can stay safe.

The criteria is:

View more information about the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System.  

What you need to know when an Emergency Alert is issued by the RCMP in B.C.

A Police Emergency Alert will be considered for confirmed events such as an active shooter(s), mass attack in a crowded or public space, or an identified public threat.

Some things to keep in mind if police issue an emergency alert.

Active shooter

How to respond when an active shooter is in your vicinity

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.


If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:


If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

If the active shooter is nearby:

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:


Take action against the active shooter.

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

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Mass Attack

How to respond when there is a mass attack in your vicinity

While the threat of mass attacks in crowded or public spaces is rare in British Columbia, if an attack occurs here are some steps that can be taken to protect yourself and help others.

What are Mass Attacks?

Mass attacks can be situations in which an assailant(s) use firearms, vehicles, explosives or other methods to cause mass casualties,

Protect Yourself Against a Mass Attack

Be Alert to Your Surroundings

Observe what is going on around you and avoid distractions such as texting, listening to headphones or being on your cell phone. 

Have an Exit Plan

Identify exits and areas to hide under cover wherever you go, including at work, school and special events.

Plan to Seek Cover for Protection

Map out places to seek cover. Place a barrier between yourself and the threat using solid objects, walls and locked doors as protection.

How to Survive During the Attack  

Stay Alert

Run to Safety

Cover and Hide

Defend, Disrupt, Fight

Help the Wounded

When Law Enforcement Arrives

Monitor Communications

Consider Seeking Professional Help

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How to respond when law enforcement arrives

Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

See it. Hear it. Report it.

Are you aware of something that may pose a threat to national security? An explosive device, a cyber attack, espionage, or a simple bank transaction that funds terrorism? You can report information about signs of terrorist-planning activities or radicalization to violence to the RCMP's National Security Information Network.

Graphic - See it. Hear it. Report it. Threats to national security can come in any form.

More information on National Security.

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