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Sad Reminder: Fairfax County Offering Tips to Stay Safe in an Active Shooting

by Karen Goff December 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm 14 Comments

After two mass shootings in the last week, Fairfax County Government has embarked on a public awareness campaign on what to do if you are part of a mass shooting situation.

On Wednesday, 14 people were killed and many more injured when two shooters — a husband and wife —  opened fire in a county government building in San Bernardino, Calif. Last Friday, three people, including a police officer, were killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo.

San Bernardino was the 355th mass shooting this year, says The Washington Post.

“Just like in any other emergency situation, the best thing you can do is to be prepared with information on what to do next,” says Fairfax County materials.

“Whether it’s an incident like Wednesday’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., or you are in the checkout line at the mall or drafting an email in your cubicle — what would you do if you heard gun shots and realized an active shooter was nearby?”

FCPD says remember the words “Run/Hide/Fight” to get you through.


If there is an escape route, attempt to evacuate.
Leave your belongings behind.
Follow instructions of responding emergency personnel.


Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
Send a text message to 9-1-1 if you’re able, but ensure your safety first.


As a last resort and only when life is in imminent danger.
Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter.
Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.

Police also say when calling 911, here is info to provide:

  • Location of the active shooter.
  • Number of shooters.
  • Physical description of shooters.
  • Number and type of weapons shooter has.
  • Number of potential victims at location.

When You Are in a Safe Place:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Raise hands and spread fingers.
  • Keep hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety.
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling.

See more Run/Hide/Fight resources on Fairfax County Government’s website.

  • meh

    Why didn’t you mention the need for American’s to have the right to protect themselves through the second amendment. You can’t outrun a bullet, you can’t hide from an explosion and of course you can’t negotiate with terrorists.

    • Karen Goff

      Surprisingly, bringing a gun to work not part of the county’s campaign.

      • John Higgins

        Shocking oversight.

        And remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

      • Ming the Merciless

        I am not at all surprised that they did not advocate anything that sensible or effective.

    • Smeagol

      “Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter”
      This wont be a problem if its not a gun free zone, but if it is, I plan on telling the shooter I drive a prius so I should be spared. If that doesn’t work I will threaten to throw glitter at them, the real tiny stuff that takes forever to get off of your clothes and hair, and as a last measure I will go out blazing with my hands shaped guns and saying… pew pew.

      • meh

        Pro-life tip, don’t tell your children to make a pop-tart into the shape of a gun and go “pew pew” they’ll get expelled from school.

  • Mike M

    Basically, and not surprisingly, the County wants you to depend upon the nanny state to come and save you. We are dependent upon government is the message. Meanwhile, when seconds matter the police take minutes to arrive on a good day. (I stole that but it’s fact.) Best alternative fight and with decision. You odds are best when bearing firearms.

  • Reston Legendary

    Whats most astonishing the number of people who are willing to admit the disastrous affects of the war on drugs and alcohol but are somehow convinced a war on guns would end better. I guarantee that NONE of the people pushing this anti-gun agenda would be willing to kick the doors down. Be safe out there folks.

  • Mookie Taylor

    I am really looking forward to the day when a person with a concealed weapon stands up in the presence of an assault-rifle-wielding madman, calmly aims his handgun, and before being killed him- or herself, takes out the assailant without harming another person. Then all the anti-gun zealots would realize the wisdom of everyone carrying a gun.

  • Mike M

    Soooo, . . still waiting for my comments to show. I’m sure they are just under review since Thursday afternoon..

  • Mike M

    They omitted “Label.” Here is that guideline”

    Should you survive the unfortunate event remember the language to use afterwards in describing it. The event was a”tragedy.” Not indiscriminate mass murder. Also, never refer to such an event as “terrorism.” It should be referenced as “workplace violence.” This last point is especially important if the murders were Muslims or if they chanted Allahu Akhbar as they dished out the mayhem.

  • Chris

    The FBI uniform crime report defines a mass killing as 4 or more homicides in a single incident. Mother jones maintains a database and interactive map of verified mass shooting incidents. Using the FBI criteria, the San Bernardino incident is the 4th mass shooting this year and the 73rd since 1982.



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