What You Can Do in a Life-Threatening, No-Notice Event

photo from video with words Run Hide Fight

The dual tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, may have many thinking about what they might do in a life-threatening, no-notice event. Being prepared can help reduce anxiety and increase your odds of staying safe. Just like in any other emergency situation, the best thing you can do is to be prepared with information on what to do next.

In any emergency, first call or text 9-1-1. 


Run. Hide. Fight.

If you are caught in a situation with an active shooter, what would you do? Here are some protective measures you can take.

  • Evacuate — Have an escape route and plan in mind before your move. Leave your belongings behind and keep your hands visible.
  • Hide out — Go to an area out of the active shooter’s view. Block the entry and lock the doors.
  • Take action — This is a last resort measure, only use when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Call or text 9-1-1 — If calling places you at risk, texting is a good alternative.


Stop the Bleed

A person can die from severe, uncontrolled bleeding in as little as five minutes. If the worst does happen, you can use the following simple steps to help control bleeding until professional help arrives.

  1. Apply pressure with hands – Expose the area that is bleeding. Apply firm and steady pressure with your hands. This will still help to slow or stop the bleeding.
  2. Apply dressing and press – With a cloth or bandage use both hands to apply firm, steady pressure to the area that is bleeding.
  3. Apply tourniquet(s) – If bleeding has not stopped, and there is one available, apply a commercially made tourniquet at least 2-3 inches above the injured area and tighten. If a commercially made tourniquet is not available, be very cautious in attempting to make an improvised tourniquet.

Stop the Bleed Infographic


Keep Firearms Locked Up

Remember to practice firearm safety and keep guns locked up and away from those who may use them inappropriately. If you do not have a gun safe at home, free locking devices for firearms are available thanks to a partnership between the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia.

Find Out Where To Get Your Locking Device


There’s Hope and There’s Help

The county has a variety of mental health resources available for anyone experiencing acute distress or who is in need of immediate help. The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board provides emergency and crisis services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Listing of CSB Emergency Services


Community members can also take Mental Health First Aid Training to gain skills that can help recognize and assist others in crisis. Learn risk factors and warning signs of mental illness as well as a five-step action plan and resources for helping someone in crisis. Monthly eight-hour certification courses are available.

Learn More About Mental Health First Aid


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