Hold and Secure

If a situation involving a violent attacker armed with a deadly weapon is taking place off campus, is on-going and has the potential to move onto campus, University community members may be instructed to hold and secure.

What is hold and secure?

Hold and secure involves a series of measures intended to minimize risk to you and others until authorities are able to take control of the situation going on nearby.

During a ‘hold and secure’ alert, you must remain inside the building you’re in when you were advised of the incident. If you’re outside, seek safety by entering the nearest building and stay inside until further notice. Locate an area where it would be acceptable to lockdown in case the situation escalates and moves onto campus.


  • Stop all study and work activities
  • Seek safety inside a building
  • Keep away from doors and windows
  • Locate an area where you can hide and barricade yourself inside, if necessary.
  • Warn others as you encounter them
  • Stay tuned into uoAlert for notice of an escalation or an all clear
  • Use the washroom facilities as needed, but return to your space immediately afterwards
  • Make alternate arrangements for other obligations or appointments you may have
  • Prepare mentally for an escalation to lockdown
  • Remember that when faced directly with a violent attacker, Escape-Cover-Hide ; as last resort, prepare to take measures to defend yourself violently
  • Remain calm, and help others do the same

Be patient, as this will likely last several hours


  • Don’t react to alarms, such as fire alarms, unless fire is evident.
  • Don’t move from your hiding place unless it’s no longer safe to stay there, or until authorities declare it safe to leave.
  • Don’t call Protection or 911 if your situation is a matter of personal discomfort or stress. Keep the lines open for medical emergencies, dangerous situations or critical information related to the threat.

When is 'hold and secure' necessary?

Emergencies that require you to 'hold and secure' include violent situations occurring off campus but nearby:

  • Active attacker (off campus)
  • Terrorist attack (off campus)


KNOW YOUR AREA! Get acquainted with your nearest escape routes, and keep an eye out for hiding places in and around the places you frequent most.


Important Note

Will the doors to buildings be locked during a ‘hold and secure’ alert?

The majority of building entrances have glass doors. A locked entrance will not stop an armed attacker from entering a building. A locked door will, however, stop an innocent person from being able to get to safety or find a place to hide. We need to ensure all University community members have the best chance to protect themselves.

It is vital that you focus on what YOU can control in your immediate environment. Lock yourself down in your space.


See: Lockdown

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