McGill Hostile Intruder Protocol


The following protocol was devised in consultation with security experts for the protection of McGill students, faculty, staff and visitors. Please pay careful attention to this protocol and note that it is available online.

McGill University Hostile Intruder Protocol

These guidelines are recommendations based on observed behaviour in such situations and on what other institutions have learned from their own experiences with hostile intruders. Your actions may need to be adapted based on the dynamics of the situation at hand.

What is a Hostile Intruder Situation?

A hostile intruder situation arises when one or more persons participate in a random or systematic action demonstrating their intent to harm others. The culprit(s) may use firearms, explosives, knives, etc. to effect mass murder rather than engage in other criminal contact.

What should I not do?

At no time should the fire alarm be activated (this will signal occupants to evacuate the building and possibly place them in harm).

What should I do?

If you are in a public/open space (hallway, cafeteria, or library) and exiting the building is an immediate option:

  • Exit the building immediately
  • Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately
  • Call 911 and McGill Security Services
    514-398-3000 (Downtown Campus)
    514-398-7777 (Macdonald Campus)

and provide the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
  3. Number of suspects as well as a physical description (if possible) and
  4. Your current location

If exiting the building is not an immediate option/possibility due to the proximity of the suspect or for any other reason:

  • Enter the nearest room or office.
  • Close and lock the door, if possible.
  • Cover the window if possible.
  • Take shelter behind a sturdy piece of furniture (e.g., a desk).
  • Keep quiet and act as if there is no one in the room (turn off the lights and all audio equipment).
  • Do not answer the door to anyone.
  • If communication means (phone) are available, quietly call 911 and McGill Security Services.


  • Know your surroundings, including exit doors and staircases, as well as where these staircases and doors lead.
  • If the intruder enters your immediate area, or if you have been injured, try not to move (play dead).

What will the police do?

Police officers are trained to respond to a hostile intruder by entering the building ASAP and proceeding to the area where the incident is unfolding. They will move quickly and directly. Early in the incident, they may not be able to rescue people because their main goal will be to neutralize the suspect.

Please try to remain as calm as possible during any such incident and adhere to the officers' demands/directives so as to not interfere with police operations. A rescue team is formed shortly after the first responding officers enter the building; they will be the officers who search for and help get everyone out of the building safely.

For further information, please contact McGill Security Services at [at]